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Colts’ draft pick swap with Jets among most impactful 2018 trades

When the Indianapolis Colts traded the No. 3 overall pick to the New York Jets ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft, it was considered a win on all fronts given the massive haul they received in return.

Moving back only three spots in the first round while adding three second-round picks (one in 2019), the Colts managed to bring in a crop of strong talent in the trenches. The deal will be officially complete when the Colts use the No. 34 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Ranking the top 30 trades from the 2018 season, ESPN ranked this particular swap as the third-most impactful deal of the campaign.

The Jets ended up with Sam Darnold, of course, and we’ll know a lot more about whether Darnold is their long-term answer in the years to come, but he didn’t make much of an impact in 2018. The Colts enjoyed a more immediate impact from their selections. At No. 6, Indy chose guard Quenton Nelson, who was a first-team All-Pro. The 37th pick was on fellow lineman Braden Smith, who allowed three sacks in 13 starts while settling in at right tackle. Indy traded down from the 49th selection and picked up an extra fifth-round pick from the Eagles. The two picks from that trade went on Kemoko Turay, who generated four sacks and 13 knockdowns as a rookie, and Jordan Wilkins, who averaged 5.6 yards per carry on 60 runs as a reserve running back. Indy might very well have chosen Nelson at No. 3, but by trading down, they managed to pick up three players who were immediate contributors to a playoff team.

Even though the jury is still out on Darnold, the Colts are widely considered winners of this trade. They got an All-Pro guard, a starting right tackle, a promising speed rusher and a solid running back in return. They will add even more to the crop once their first selection in the second round goes through in April.

General manager Chris Ballard doubled down on his desire to add draft picks, and it helped him create a foundation that the roster will build on for years to come.

The Colts have a chance to make this trade have even more of a positive impact if they can hit on their second-round pick, which would make the results of this trade more in Indy’s favor.

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