NFL

Buckner trade was 'a unique opportunity' for Colts, says Ballard

By Sports Desk April 09, 2020

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard believes the opportunity to sign DeForest Buckner was "unique" and one the team could not turn down.

Ballard believes adding the defensive lineman means the Colts have landed an "elite" player who can have an "infectious" impact on their defense.

The Colts, who also added quarterback Philip Rivers in free agency, gave up the number 13 pick in the upcoming NFL draft to bring in Buckner from the San Francisco 49ers.

They promptly signed him to a huge four-year, $84million contract extension and Ballard felt the chance to pick up a high-profile player in his prime was rare.

"When you have an opportunity to acquire what you think is an elite player at a premium position, who's just turning 26 years old, still has three-plus years of high-level play, who's a unique, physical talent - plus a unique individual in terms of his character - we thought it was a great move for us," Ballard told the team's website.

"Most of the time when you acquire elite players they're usually on the down side of their careers and if it happens in free agency there's usually a reason they're hitting the market. 

"So we just saw a unique opportunity. The 13th pick was a lot, but we think his play, both on the field and what he's going to bring to the locker room, warranted the 13th pick of the draft."

Ballard has been impressed by Buckner's NFL career to date, an opening four years that culminated with him forming a key part of the 49ers team which reached the Super Bowl in 2019.

"He disrupts the line of scrimmage and he's been productive throughout his career," added Ballard of Buckner, who was drafted at number seven overall in 2016.

"His effort level, when you put the tape on, you never seen a down play where you see lack of effort.

"It is a high motor, all the time, playing as fast as he can and as hard as he can, and that's infectious to a defense - that's infectious to a team. 

"DeForest just adds another young talented player with high character that we want to build this thing on."

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