For all the acclaim that GM Chris Ballard gets for his drafting skills, his first draft with the Colts has not done well three years later.
Chris Ballard has his first draft for the Colts in 2017 after he was hired to take over for Ryan Grigson. While the last three drafts, especially the 2018 draft, has gotten rave reviews, his 2017 draft has not aged nearly as well. In fact, it can be characterized as below average.
From that draft class, only four players remain on the roster. There is a chance that only two of them are left after this season too because Malik Hooker‘s fifth-year option was declined and Grover Stewart might become expendable because of additions at defensive tackle. Only Marlon Mack and Anthony Walker are looking solid as far as their roster status.
Quincy Wilson was finally traded on the third day of the draft to the Jets for a sixth-round pick. Nate Hairston was traded during last year’s draft to the Jets for a sixth-round pick as well. Tarell Basham was cut and picked up by, you guessed it, the Jets. Zach Banner now plays for Pittsburgh.
Mack might not get an extension either because of newly drafted back Jonathan Taylor coming into the fold. Walker, who was the last player selected by the Colts in that draft, is the only one who has a solid future with the team from that draft class.
If Hooker doesn’t get an extension from the team after this season, you can characterize this draft as a minor failure. Getting two good years from Mack and a solid career from Walker so far definitely counts for something, but missing on everyone else doesn’t outweigh that.
Does this make Ballard a bad GM? Of course not. His draft in 2018 was one of the all-time great classes in the history of the franchise. His moves this offseason have been universally applauded, including here. But it does prove that he has flaws just like everyone else.