Chuck Pagano's 'play to win' approach could keep Colts from best pass-rusher

The Colts could use a pass-rusher like NC State's Bradley Chubb (9). Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS -- A youth movement?

Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has no interest in heading in that direction during the team's final three games, despite being eliminated from playoff contention.

What about worrying about draft positioning?

There's a better chance of Pagano and former general manager Ryan Grigson working together again than there is of the Colts purposely tanking to ensure at least the No. 3 spot in the next spring's NFL draft.

"Crazy question," Pagano said when asked about tanking. "I could give you what [New England] coach [Bill Belichick] said [Monday night], the best coach in the league, right. 'Give me a break.'"

Pagano's philosophy over the final three games is to play the best players available and do whatever is necessary to win games.

Nothing else.

"We're going to play to win, whoever that is," Pagano said. "I don't care how old they are -- first year, 13th year."

That philosophy is understandable because it's the players and coaches' jobs to compete and try to win. But it also could hurt the Colts in the long run because they desperately need all the help they can get through the draft.

ESPN's Todd McShay had his first mock draft on Wednesday morning, and unsurprisingly he has the Colts taking NC State pass-rush specialist Bradley Chubb.

Chubb, a four-year player at NC State, has 25 sacks and 54.5 tackles for a loss during his career. He's exactly what the Colts need on defense. Indianapolis hasn't had a legitimate pass-rusher since Robert Mathis had 19.5 sacks in 2013.

The Colts are slowly getting things together in the secondary, but even the best defensive backfields need help in the pass-rush department.

Let's assume the Colts lose out and the New York Giants find a way to win two of their last three, allowing Indianapolis to move up to No. 2. Doing that could put the Colts in position to dangle that pick to a quarterback-starved team in order to collect some extra picks and still potentially select Chubb if they don't have to move back too far. General manager Chris Ballard has been adamant in wanting to build the roster through the draft. That's one way to speed up the process.

Winning out -- and having others lose -- could cause a drastic change in draft positioning for the Colts (3-10). There are 13 other teams with between three and six victories. The Colts, depending on tiebreaker scenarios, could potentially fall far enough that it would be unlikely they could select Chubb.

Indianapolis also needs help on the offensive line and at inside linebacker.