Colts could spurn former MVP for far worse option |

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The Indianapolis Colts may actually draft Will Levis No. 4 overall out of Kentucky, rather than entertain the possibility of trading for Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Despite being the new, cool flavor of the week to trade for Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Indianapolis Colts may actually prefer to take Will Levis out of Kentucky with the fourth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Although Jackson has requested a trade out of town, Baltimore is having what looks to be a miserable time finding a potential partner. The Ravens used the non-exclusive franchise tag, probably as a means to allow the rest of the league to dictate fair market value for him. With one team after another seemingly bowing out of the Jackson sweepstakes, what about the Colts?

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday that many NFL teams expect for the Colts to use the No. 4 pick in this spring’s draft the Kentucky’s controversial signal-caller.

I may like Levis more than most people do, but I also do not work for the Colts. This is something!

NFL rumors: Indianapolis Colts may actually prefer Will Levis over Lamar Jackson

The issue here is not about Indianapolis’ potential reluctance at making a trade in-conference, but that they are seemingly content with taking the fourth-best quarterback prospect with the No. 4 pick. Jackson has had injury issues the last two years and minimal playoff success in five seasons with Baltimore. Trading for him will not come cheap. Who even knows if he can play into his 30s?

Even if Jackson is a stellar fit in Shane Steichen’s newfangled Colts offense, I can understand why Indianapolis may want to do its own quarterback grocery shopping. From a talent perspective, Levis has a lot working for him. He has a rocket arm and is very athletic. Although his final season at Kentucky was forgettable, he did flourish under Liam Coen’s watch during the 2021 campaign.

So the issue is not Levis himself, but rather the value you are getting at No. 4, or lack thereof. Truthfully, there are only four players worthy of going top four from a talent perspective. Levis is not one of them. Those four players are Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

Even if Florida’s Anthony Richardson has a Josh Allen/Cam Newton ceiling, he could just be a worse version of Vince Young and wash out of the league far too soon. The upside is certainly there for him. More importantly, the market may dictate teams picking inside the top 10 paying a premium for him. This is where the Colts must avoid being the Jon Gruden era Las Vegas Raiders.

I have no issues with the Colts taking Levis whatsoever. He could be the best thing to happen to them since Peyton Manning for all we know. Where I do have a problem is not looking to potentially trade back a few picks, recoup further compensation and still get your guy. To be totally honest with you, the Raiders at No. 7 and the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8 may be solid trade partners.

A trade with the Silver and Black probably gets them in position to draft Richardson, maybe even Young or Stroud if they were to somehow fall down the draft board. When it comes to a deal with the Dirty Birds, they would be able to draft someone like local product Anderson or former Georgia star Carter right around where they should be coming off the board anyway. Levis cannot go No. 4.

Again, there are various reasons to be in and out on Jackson if you are another NFL franchise outside of the Charm City. If the Colts don’t want to trade for him, that’s fine, but if they are dead-set on taking a quarterback, they need to go about it in a smart and methodical manner. We don’t need Jim Irsay to be full-blown impulsive and reach for Levis like he is Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson.

Overall, I can respect the Colts for wanting to draft their own guy and develop him many years before they ever thought they needed to. However, they have devolved into a dysfunctional mess in the demise of Andrew Luck’s career. Simply put, the Colts have given us no reason to ever be trusted again. They have to earn our respect, which starts with making smart moves in the draft.

Ultimately, Irsay, Steichen and general manager Chris Ballard will get a ton of credit if a guy like Levis were to succeed in Indianapolis. The problem is the Colts somehow found a way to squander a sure thing in Luck over the better part of last decade. Levis is a mega talent, but so is Jackson. He may be able to return the Colts to glory, but he is not a player that can carry a franchise by himself.

If the Colts want to draft Levis, they need to find a trade partner so that they can move down a bit.

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