Ballard spent several years with the Colts after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft by the team out of Mississippi State. In his rookie season, Ballard played in all 16 games and started 12 of them, rushing for 814 yards and two touchdowns on 211 carries, averaging 3.9 yards per rush. He also caught 17 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown that year, with the one receiving score coming on a walk-off game-winner in overtime against the Titans on his dive into the end zone. He had a nice rookie year and gave reason for optimism for the future.
In 2013, Ballard entered the season as the Colts' starting running back and rushed for 63 yards on 13 carries in the season opener, averaging 4.8 yards per rush. Unfortunately, he suffered a non-contact injury in practice that week and tore his ACL, ending his season. He came back in 2014 and looked to factor into the mix at running back, but just a few days into training camp he once again went down with a non-contact injury, this time to his Achilles on a simple out route in positional drills. Another year, another season-ending injury - this one before he got to play in any games. The Colts again brought him back in 2015 for camp, but it was very much uncertain how he would do. For much of camp, however, he struggled through hamstring injuries, and though he made the roster after final cuts, he was waived shortly after as he wasn't healthy. It wasn't a season-ending injury, but it was an injury at the wrong time and it resulted in him getting cut.
Since then, Ballard has had at least one workout (with the Bears), but he hasn't been signed anywhere since being released from the Colts. It's no surprise to see a team give him a shot in the offseason when rosters expand to 90 players, as the 25-year old back could be a nice addition to a team's backfield if he can stay healthy. It's that last part that gives plenty of questions, as he hasn't been able to do that since his rookie season. Hopefully, things work out for him with the Saints and he stays healthy and impresses.