Through his tenure as the Indianapolis Colts general manager, Chris Ballard has stuck to his core philosophy of building through the draft.
Bold a strategy as it may have been, Ballard’s persistence paid major dividends for the Colts’ roster long-term, which is why The New York Post’s Brian Costello has the Colts ranked No. 1 in his five-year draft analysis for all 32 teams.
Ballard’s 2018 draft was perhaps his best, landing two All-Pros in left guard Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard. Both right tackle Braden Smith and running back Nyheim Hines emerged as stars in their own right and linebackers Matthew Adams and Zaire Franklin — a special team’s captain — each played meaningful snaps for the Colts last season.
Ballard has hit on more picks than not through his five drafts as Indy’s GM, especially in the second round, where All-Pro players like Leonard and running back Jonathan Taylor were selected.
When you consider just how much Ballard has endured as the Colts’ GM, not the least of which was the team’s star quarterback, Andrew Luck, walking away in August of 2019 at only 29-years-old, you’d be hard-pressed to find a roster that could sustain such a loss.
Most other franchises around the league wouldn’t have been in nearly as good of a position as the Colts were post-Luck.
Make no mistake; Ballard’s strategy has its flaws. He’s swung and missed on a few different draft picks during his time in Indianapolis, too.
But Ballard’s choice of roster construction has without question kept the Colts afloat throughout the last five seasons, including winning a minimum of seven games in every season with a different starting quarterback each time. That’s not an easy thing to do.
Without question, Ballard’s conviction and consistency has created one of the NFL’s foremost and well-constructed rosters.