Florio, Simms debate risk, reward for Colts trading up to No. 1


With all the NFL's decision-makers at the combine in Indianapolis this week, trade talks surrounding the Bears' No. 1 overall pick are heating up.

Several quarterback-needy teams could be interested in the top pick, especially with the Houston Texans sitting at No. 2 hoping to take a signal caller for their own.

The Indianapolis Colts, at No. 4, are one team rumored to be in the market for a quarterback. Since Andrew Luck retired before the 2019 season, Indy has started seven different quarterbacks with limited success. After attempting to salvage the final good years out of Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan, the Colts finally seem ready to restart with a young QB.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard discussed the merits of trading up on Wednesday.

“I know this was coming up, because I know all the speculation out there,” Ballard told reporters at the combine. “One, to move up, there’s got to be a guy worthy of it. This is what’s great right now: Everybody has just automatically stamped that you’ve got to move up to one to get it right. I don’t know if I agree with that. I don’t. But that’s going to be the narrative, and that’s OK. ... But I don’t know if that’s the right course of business. When we meet as a staff, and we say, ‘OK, this is what we need to do. This is the guy for the next 10 to 15 years,’ and we think he’s the right guy, sure we’ll do it.


"But who’s to say we won’t get one at (No. 4)?"

On Thursday's edition of "PFT Live," NBC Sports analysts Mike Florio and Chris Simms discussed the pros and cons of trading up for a quarterback.

"It's just part of the game," Florio said of Ballard's comments. "It all depends on who they want and what they think they need to do to get him. It's part of the chess match, and it's complicated, because you have teams in front of you and teams behind you.

"You don't want to get caught up in it, you don't want your owner to get caught up in it and be nudging you to do something that you don't want to do. That's how Johnny Manziel ends up with a team like the Browns when he shouldn't have. It's going to take discipline, a lot of conversation, a lot of analysis, a lot of clear-headed thinking and I think Chris Ballard is suited to doing it, even though that team has been upside down ever since Andrew Luck retired."

Simms agreed with Florio's take, echoing that trading up isn't always a necessity when looking for a franchise quarterback.

"I don't agree with the sentiment that you have to move up to No. 1," Simms said. "The two quarterbacks that we've been talking about the last few years as the best quarterbacks in the game -- Mahomes and Josh Allen -- were not No. 1 picks. The other guy in the Super Bowl this year -- Jalen Hurts -- was a second-round pick. It isn't all about No. 1, and we can go down a list of busts at No. 1 that didn't work out.

"Maybe one guy has a 9.8 grade, that's your favorite quarterback. OK, but are you going to trade the farm to go up to No. 1 if you have another quarterback or two that have a 9.7 and 9.5 grade? Probably not. ... They're going to have to read the room and see if they think another team is going to jump them, which would maybe put them third in line as far as the quarterback conversation."

Another factor to weigh when considering a trade up is something immeasurable: pressure. Giving up valuable assets for a young player can place a heaven burden on a guy who might not be ready to shoulder that load.

"How much do you give up for a better spot in line when it's all a crapshoot? It's part of the risk you take," Florio explained. "There's a comfort in not being the one to pick first because if you pick wrong first, it's even more glaring. Let's say the Colts trade up to No. 1 and take Bryce Young. Then the Texans take C.J. Stroud at No. 2, or even wait until 12 to take a guy. It's even more pressure -- look how much pressure was put on Trey Lance two years ago, when the 49ers gave all that stuff up for the third pick."


There have been several other recent examples of teams trading up to No. 1 or No. 2 for quarterbacks, with mixed results -- Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Mitchell Trubisky, to name a few.

"There is extra pressure when you move up. It puts a spotlight on you," Simms said.

With still over 50 days until the 2023 NFL Draft, the speculation has only just begun.