Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard has an eye for talent. He’s proven that over years at the helm, which saw him rebuild this team after Ryan Grigson nearly ran it into the ground.
Football fans immediately rewind to Ballard’s 2018 draft, when he traded the No. 3 overall pick to the New York Jets and acquired a slew of assets that eventually turned into Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith and Rock Ya-Sin the year after (jury’s still out on him, though). He also selected Darius Leonard in 2018. That’s the Colts’ core right there.
Though the 2021 draft left a lot of fans questioning his motives, Ballard acquired talent that was viewed favorable among a majority of scouts. Say what you want about Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo — we weren’t exactly fans of the picks at the time — but there’s a solid chance those guys revamp the defensive line for years to come based on their skill set and size.
But did Ballard’s best work this year come in the seventh round? When wide receiver Michael Strachan’s name was called, there’s no doubt almost every Colts fan said, “Who?!”
Could Colts WR Michael Strachan be the steal of the 2021 NFL Draft?
A Division-II wide receiver out of Charleston who partook in West Virginia’s pro day due to his team’s season being canceled (and the fact there was no NFL Combine), Strachan eventually being drafted by the Colts feels like destiny. What are the odds?
At WVU’s pro day, he ran the second-fastest 40 time and logged the best vertical and box jump measurements. That’s what caught Colts area scout Chad Henry’s eye.
Now? Strachan is turning heads at training camp … against the first-team defense! No wonder his Twitter handle is @Mike_Playmaker!
And don’t you DARE put him in one-on-one coverage against the second team.
Strachan is 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. With speed. And 10-inch hands. His strength is clearly overwhelming for a particular type of defensive back, which means he can easily help exploit matchups alongside TY Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal.
Given what this Colts offense needs (a true No. 1 wideout with size, speed and sure hands), coupled with the early returns, it’s possible Strachan is in the spotlight during the early going in 2021. That could lead to the rest of the NFL world starting to realize the steal of the draft was a lot bigger than anyone could have imagined.