Carousel is not a winning plan at quarterback, that much the Indianapolis Colts have proven since Andrew Luck retired before the 2019 season.
But general manager Chris Ballard denied the Colts' need to move up from the No. 4 overall pick to find a long-term solution at the position, especially if it means a deal for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft.
"Everybody has already stamped that you have to move up to No. 1 to get the guy. I don't know I believe that," said Ballard, whose trades for Carson Wentz (2021) and Matt Ryan (2022) flopped, sparking a coaching change last season and mandate from owner Jim Irsay to get it right this time.
"There's got to be a guy worthy of it."
Since Ballard became general manager in 2017, single-season stopgaps at quarterback haven't held up with the exception of Philip Rivers, who followed Jacoby Brissett (2019).
Ballard has used 53 total draft picks and selected just two quarterbacks -- Texas' Sam Ehlinger was the 218th pick in the 2021 draft and Jacob Eason was selected 122nd overall in the 2020 draft after spending time at Georgia and Washington -- and has a tendency to seek value in free agency and stockpile extra selections in the draft.
At coach Shane Steichen's introductory press conference, Irsay sounded more than enamored with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, but at 6-foot, 194 pounds, his height and weight are question marks.
"Do we stay put? Do we trade up? There's really many things we can do," Irsay said. "The Alabama guy doesn't look bad, I'll tell ya."
Ballard said winning quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. The Bears draft first and appear intent on dealing the pick to a team desperate for a fix at quarterback. The Houston Texans have the second pick and head coach DeMeco Ryans said Thursday the franchise "must add" a quarterback. Arizona has Kyler Murray at quarterback and the Cardinals pick third overall, meaning only one of the teams in the current top three needs a passer.
In addition to Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Kentucky's Will Levis and Florida's Anthony Richardson are viewed as likely first-round picks.
Ballard asked rhetorically, "Who's to say that we won't get a good quarterback at 4?"
He was then questioned about what it would take to entice him to make the offer to the Bears to make the jump to No. 1.
"That we were just convicted. That this is no freaking doubt the guy," Ballard said.
Ballard hired Steichen, offensive coordinator of the Eagles, as head coach in February. Steichen helped mold Jalen Hurts from second-round pick to MVP candidate in Philadelphia. Ballard said their success is a study in finding the right fit.
"The accuracy is one of the biggest things," Steichen said. "I think when it's third-and-8 and you've got to have it, you've got to be able to stand in the pocket and deliver a strike with a guy barreling down your chest. That says a lot about a guy's toughness. I look for that on tape. The vetting process of it, the physical process, guys come in different shapes and sizes. We've seen Hall of Famers that are 6-foot, we've seen Hall of Famers that are 6-5. Again, it's that "it" factor."
--Field Level Media