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Colts GM Chris Ballard Comments on Team’s ‘Day 2’ Draft Haul in Post-Day Presser

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Cincinnati at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up ‘Day 2’ with four selections—despite only having two picks initially entering the evening.

The Colts ‘Day 2’ draft class has been regarded as highly athletic (all with top RAS scores), intelligent by Colts general manager Chris Ballard, and seemed to be a big hit among the Colts fan base—as critical roster holes were potentially filled with tremendous upside.

Most importantly, the Colts stayed true to their identity with three of the four selections as offensive players who can really run block—while their lone defensive selection may remind some fans quickly of another Indy safety, Julian Blackmon, in playing style.

Ballard took the time to answer some media questions following the team’s ‘Day 2’ picks on Friday night:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Temple at Cincinnati Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alec Pierce, WR Cincinnati (Second Round, Pick #53)

“I mean (Alec) Pierce, you know Alec, he has really good size, really good vertical speed. He’s got work to do like any rookie receiver that comes into the league, but we think he’s got a chance to really ascend.”

“Just put on the Notre Dame game. I mean he played about as well as you could play against a Top 5 college football team, so excited to get him.”

“. . . I think he can play both inside and outside. He’s tough. He blocks. He was a really good special teams player earlier in his career. You know the one thing you notice about Pierce, he gets behind people. I mean this kid can really, really run. Really adjust to the football. There’s some work that he has to do from a route running perspective, which most young receivers have to work on anyways, but we like his upside.”

“. . . I mean he primarily played outside, but we think he can move inside. I mean in our offense with Frank (Reich), they’re going to move him around anyways. So the coaches will figure it out, but I don’t see (any issue), he’s a big target. We think he’s going to be able to get in and do a lot of the stuff Zach (Pascal) did, blocking for us in the run game which is really important. But I don’t see any issue with him being able to go inside.”

Texas Tech v Oklahoma State Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Jelani Woods, TE Virginia (Third Round, Pick #73)

“And Jelani, Jelani’s unique. I’m not going to lie to you. There’s a (wait), and I sweated it out, because I think he’s got really big upside—both as a receiving tight end and as a blocker. We think he’s going to be able to block. He did it at Oklahoma State, but he’s a unique athlete.”

“And he’s a guy that’s always open. I mean it’s like Mo (Alie-Cox), when you’re 6’7”, the quarterback can put the ball up, and he’s athletic enough to be able to make a play on it. And this kid can run. I mean this kid can really run. So we’re excited to get him.”

“. . . Any time you’re 6’7”, Mo went through this, and Mo’s gotten better at it. But anytime you’re that tall, learning how to play with leverage and your pad level down, it’s something that’s going to take a lot of work, but he’s a big man. I mean, I think he’s got 230 pounds of lean mass on him, his body, he’s probably going to play at 255 to 260 (pounds). It’ll take him some time to learn how to really block, but he did it at Oklahoma State. So we think he’ll be able to do it here.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Central Michigan at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bernhard Raimann, OT Central Michigan (Third Round, Pick #77)

“We do think he has that talent (to play left tackle), but what we’ll do is, we’ll get the best five (offensive linemen) on the field. If Bernhard’s one of the best five, he’ll be on the field—whether it’s at tackle, guard, wherever we think, whatever the coaches think are the best five, we’ll get them on the field. But we think he’s got starter talent on the o-line.”

“. . . He blocked people on tape that’s number one, even with his traits, he was productive. He’s still learning how to play the (offensive tackle) position, but if you just look at his growth from the COVID year, he was a tight end his first two years, moves to tackle, and then the growth from his junior to senior season, we think he’s going to keep taking those incremental jumps.”

“And this is a smart guy now. I mean I want to say he has his degree in what? Actuarial science? I mean this guy’s brilliant. He’s got a great story. I’ll let him tell it, but he’s got a great story.”

Minnesota v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Nick Cross, Safety Maryland (Third Round, Pick #96)

“Just a really good athlete that can run. He’s young. He’s not even 21 years old yet. I remember asking the group, ‘Where would you take this kid if he was in next year’s draft?’ ‘In the second round.’ Then we don’t have any problem giving up our third next year to go get him.”