Despite a Dismal Record, GM Chris Ballard’s First Season Was a Success


2017 was a disappointing season for the Colts, but general manager Chris Ballard has begun building a roster that could be competing for championships in the future.


Like any NFL team, the Colts’ draft picks had a wide range of hits and misses in 2017.

If Malik Hooker is able to fully recover from his season-ending knee injury, he has the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl safety and a major difference-maker on the back end of the defense.

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Picking up a running back as talented as Marlon Mack in the fourth round was a great move in Ballard’s first draft.

The most obvious miss was selecting Zach Banner in the fourth round. The former USC offensive tackle didn’t even make the 53-man roster out of training camp.

Quincy Wilson has had a weird rookie year, but he’s definitely showed flashes of talent that suggest he could develop into a reliable starter.

The book is still out on Tarrell Basham, Anthony Walker, Grover Stewart, and Nate Hairston. If one or two of them can develop into quality players, this 2017 draft should be deemed a success.

Free Agency

Free agency was where Chris Ballard really shined this offseason.

Johnathan Hankins, John Simon, Al Woods, and Jabaal Sheard have all proved to be quality signings. Those four players have totally transformed the Colts’ defensive line, which was in desperate need of a rebuild after 2016.

Barkevious Mingo and Margus Hunt were bargain-bin free agents who could have a promising future with the Colts.

Releasing cornerback Patrick Robinson was probably a mistake as he’s had a career year in Philadelphia, but Ballard couldn’t have done much better in free agency last season.

Next: 2018 Colts Free Agent Decisions: Wide Receiver Donte Moncrief

The Colts have an opportunity to improve their roster again this offseason with some high draft picks and a ton of cap room. If Ballard can continue to build on the success of the 2017 offseason, and Andrew Luck can come back healthy, Indianapolis could be primed for a major turnaround in 2018.