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Which players impressed Chris Ballard during the Colts’ offseason program?

NFL: Indianapolis Colts-Minicamp Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts wrapped up their ten week offseason program on Thursday with the conclusion of mandatory mini-camp, and there were a number of players who impressed this offseason.

While offseason performance isn’t the best way to evaluate a player, it is helpful to know which players caught the eye of team personnel. In that regard, it seems that GM Chris Ballard was impressed wit ha number of players this week, and’s Kevin Bowen tweeted out a list of some of the players with whom Ballard said he was impressed.

What’s particularly interesting about that list is that only one of the seven players was brought in by Chris Ballard - Dalton Crossan, an undrafted running back signing this offseason. It’s not the first time we’ve heard Ballard mention Crossan’s name, however, as after the draft he named three Colts undrafted free agents to watch - and one of them was Dalton Crossan. So he’s now mentioned Crossan’s name twice this offseason, meaning that he probably is very intrigued by the running back out of New Hampshire - and meaning that we should probably keep a closer eye on him moving forward into training camp.

Another running back who impressed Ballard this offseason was Robert Turbin, who was re-signed earlier this year by Ballard after his impressive situational production in 2016. Turbin impressed many people in the offseason program too, and Rob Chudzinski said this week that Turbin has “had a hell of a spring.”

Ballard also mentioned three defensive backs, as he was impressed with Darius Butler, Matthias Farley, and Christopher Milton. We’ve heard plenty about Farley recently, as he’s been seeing first team reps in practice with Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker out. The fact that he’s ahead of T.J. Green is the most significant part, and it seems he’s turning heads with his production this offseason. Then Butler, of course, has also been seeing first team reps at safety alongside Farley, and while Butler is more of a proven veteran he’s also working at safety for the first offseason of his career. He’s been a cornerback but has made the full-time switch to safety, so it seems he’s impressing in that transition. At corner, then, Chris Milton has caught Ballard’s eye, which is significant since the depth cornerback spots are so up for grabs. Remember, Milton did play in six games and start one a year ago, so he’s a name we should probably consider when discussing the cornerback depth chart.

The last two names are probably the most notable names because they’re often the easiest to evaluate in practice. Wide receivers can be evaluated for their route running, catching ability, and the like even while in shorts, so we’ve heard plenty of people heap praise on Donte Moncrief and Chester Rogers this offseason already for producing and stepping up. If they both emerge as legitimate threats in 2017, it would be a huge boost to a wide receiver group that already looks promising.

Ultimately, offseason production and performance only matters so far as it creates impressions on the coaching staff and team personnel that could prove important moving forward, and it seems that these seven guys in particular caught the eye of Chris Ballard and will thus be more closely monitored in training camp. Likewise, for Colts fans and analysts, it should serve as an indication of which players to keep an eye on more closely once camp arrives.