According to The Athletic’s Ben Standig (subscription), Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard is the NFL’s most trusted league executive and best talent evaluator per an NFL agent survey recently conducted by 30 certified player representatives:
12. Among general managers or front-office leaders, whom do you trust the most?
Chris Ballard, Colts general manager (6 votes)
“Find him to be completely forthcoming. Offers info. Extends himself when not needed.”
“He’s just a straight shooter. He’s not gonna lie to you about your guys and say they’re better than they are worse than they are. You know what you’re getting and they always get back to you.”
“I don’t know how we can (trust front-office executives) as agents. Their job is to battle for their team. Our job is to battle for the players. I don’t think I could trust any of them. If forced to pick one, Chris Ballard with the Colts.”
16. Among general managers or front-office leaders, who is the best talent evaluator?
Ballard (5.5 votes)
“He’s the best by far. He’s the easiest to deal with and I think he’s great at talent evaluation as well.”
“Really solid at his job. Doesn’t get outside of himself. Doesn’t reach.”
(Author’s note: Agents also selected Ballard as the top talent evaluator in 2019, followed by Belichick, Dorsey, Roseman and Schneider)
It’s worth noting that Ballard also received votes for being the league’s smartest general manager/front office leader (3) and toughest contract negotiator (1) respectively.
The Colts franchise also received votes (2) for the team that had the best offseason: “Tough not to like the Colts. Building through the draft and then bringing in a veteran QB (Philip Rivers) who fits the culture.”
Of course, the fact that the Colts’ 51 year old front office executive is highly regarded—especially among league scouting circles is hardly surprising given that he’s the PFWA’s 2018 Executive of the Year—after drafting two All-Pros (Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard) in 2018 in a loaded Indy draft class.
Despite having some tough breaks with Andrew Luck’s health and subsequent abrupt retirement, Ballard has dramatically improved the Colts offensive line and compiled an infusion of youthful talent on both sides of the football—complemented by productive veterans—for what appears to be a very well-balanced Indianapolis roster (and potential rising AFC contender) ahead of the 2020 season.
He’s also been said to be very forthright and honest with the media—as indicated by being awarded the PFWA 2020 Jack Horrigan Award—which is given annually to the league or team official who best helps the pro football writers perform their jobs.
Simply stated, Ballard is a stand-up league executive, who’s very talented at both player and contract evaluation—and one of the best young general managers in the business for the Colts. He should be hopefully for a long time in Indianapolis too.