The reputation of Colts general manager Chris Ballard has started to take a hit

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After being considered one of the better general managers in the NFL, the reputation of Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard has started to take a hit.

For a while, people throughout the NFL believed the Indianapolis Colts had one of the best general managers in the league in Chris Ballard. Ballard had the challenge of navigating a unique situation with the surprise retirement of Andrew Luck. However, he was effectively navigating the situation by drafting well and re-signing homegrown players that had developed into stars.

Unfortunately, as the Colts cycled through veteran quarterbacks, Ballard’s efforts didn’t result in much team success. Indianapolis still hasn’t won the AFC South since 2014, and since Ballard became general manager back in 2017, Indy has only made two playoff appearances, winning just one game. Now, after an abysmal 4-12-1 season in 2022, Ballard isn’t being viewed the same as a general manager.

That has become clear in the latest general manager rankings. In a recent ranking of GMs by Patrick Daugherty for NBC Sports, Ballard is ranked 17th. Being ranked at 17 isn’t terrible but it’s not good either; it’s just below average. However, it’s especially bad when you consider Ballard’s ranking on this exact list over the last three offseasons.

During the 2021 offseason, Ballard was ranked at No. 6, considered an elite general manager. In 2022, Ballard fell to No. 11, just outside the top 10, but still pretty good. Now, in 2023, Ballard is ranked at No. 17, dropping significantly over the past few offseasons.

Colts GM Chris Ballard continues to fall in general manager rankings

Daugherty highlighted Ballard’s struggles to find a quarterback, but pointed out that Chris Ballard and Indianapolis should now have some stability with Anthony Richardson at QB and Shane Steichen at head coach. According to Daugherty, this stability will allow Ballard to “get back to work on rebuilding his offensive line and stockpiling defensive difference makers.”

The thing that has remained consistent for Chris Ballard is drafting; the Colts continue to put together good draft classes under Ballard. For that reason, Indy does have several talented players on the roster. However, as Daugherty pointed out, the offensive line needs to be better.

If the offensive line can rebound, and the rest of this talent can come together, the Colts should be a factor in the AFC South, and could make their return to the playoffs in the next couple of seasons. If that happens, Ballard’s reputation will be rebuilt and he should find himself higher on these rankings.