Chris Ballard says Colts had trade offers for No. 21 pick

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Kevin Hickey
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The Indianapolis Colts stood with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft on Thursday night and selected defensive end Kwity Paye out of Michigan.

While most were expecting a trade back, it also wasn’t expected that Paye would fall to the Colts. Because of this and the lack of a truly significant offer, general manager Chris Ballard decided to stay at No. 21 and grab their highest-ranked edge rusher.

“It was easy. It was really easy,” Ballard said. “We had a trade offer – it wasn’t enough to pass the player we were going to take. It just wasn’t enough value for us to say, ‘Let’s move and pass a player that we think very highly of that fits our culture and fits what we want to do.’”

Paye was the top target for the Colts and the fanbase even if neither truly believed he would be there at No. 21. He’s a perfect fit both schematically and in the locker room, which made the decision relatively easy for Ballard.

Instead of moving back and taking a lesser offer just to take one, Ballard stuck to the board and grabbed arguably the best pass rusher in this draft.

“I couldn’t be more excited. Look, I’ve made some pretty easy picks where you just knew and you pull the card and it was an easy pull. Pulling the card of Kwity Paye was very easy. Stands for everything we want to stand for. He’s in a position that we all know is important at defensive end. We think he’s got really big upside,” Ballard said. “We think he’s going to continue to get better. He’s going to add to our front. He’s got an unbelievable story and I just feel very fortunate tonight. Sometimes it goes your way and tonight we feel like it went our way.”

The Colts have just five picks remaining in the draft, barring a trade down on Friday or Saturday, which is entirely possible. But the offers they got for the No. 21 pick weren’t enough to overcome the desire to add Paye to the roster.

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