While not the sexiest name spinning around the NFL trade rumor mill, Orlando Brown Jr. nevertheless represents one of the most potentially important dominos that could fall before the NFL Draft. A two-time Pro Bowler who proved he could dominate on the left side of the line in 2020, Brown has all the makings of a blindside anchor for a franchise willing to trade for him. No franchise is more dire need of making that deal than the Indianapolis Colts.
Following the retirement of Anthony Castonzo, the Colts have a gaping hole at left tackle with no clear path toward filling it. What's more, they just traded for quarterback Carson Wentz, who struggled mightily under pressure with the Eagles in 2020. If the Colts want to get the best return on investment from Wentz, they need to protect his blindside. No one is better suited to do so than Brown.
Brown, a 6-8, 345-pound behemoth, replaced perennial All-Pro Ronnie Stanley at left tackle for the Ravens last year and established himself as one of the best in the business, earning his second Pro Bowl nod. He played right tackle his first two seasons in the league and shined there too, starting 26 games and making the Pro Bowl in 2019. He wants a trade so he can remain a starting left tackle with Stanley expected to reclaim that spot for the Ravens in 2021. Because he still has one more year on his rookie deal and will only cost $3.5 million in 2021, he's a hot commodity on the trade market, with the reported asking price being a first-round pick.
The Colts currently have the No. 21 overall pick in the 2021 draft. They could try and find Castonzo's replacement there, but they should trade that away for Brown. While Brown will need a contract extension, the Colts are in win-now mode and trading for a sure thing is smarter than drafting a question mark, especially with Wentz now in town.
The Colts offensive line has been outstanding for the last two seasons and a huge reason Philip Rivers was able to survive a full year at 38-39 years old last season. To keep what has become the heart of their offense beating at full capacity, they need to make sure the most important position on the line is shored up. That means replacing Castonzo. While a first-round pick is valuable, Brown is even more valuable and the Colts should trade for him before someone else does.