Colts’ Chris Ballard ranked 17th among NFL GMs

With another offseason comes more time to evaluate the state of the NFL. This includes assessing critical leadership positions, like the general managers of all 32 teams.

NBC Sports writer Patrick Daugherty has released his 2023 rankings of the league’s general managers. Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard lands in the middle of the pack at No. 17.

Ballard is down six spots from the 2022 rankings and eleven from the 2021 rankings.

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Chris Ballard has lost control of this ride, but he doesn’t want off. At one point famous for assembling one of the league’s most complete rosters, Ballard is now better known as the general manager who loves elderly or washed-up quarterbacks, sometimes at the same time. Not anymore. Ballard took owner Jim Irsay’s not-so-subtle Jeff Saturday hint. No more thinking small. Ballard shattered his Philip Rivers mold with April’s selection of Florida QB Anthony Richardson. Quite literally everything Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan were not, Richardson arrives with the widest range of potential outcomes as any quarterback in recent memory. Thankfully, he won’t be working with Saturday. Ballard made a solid hire at head coach when he plucked Shane Steichen away from the Eagles. In his two short years under Nick Sirianni, Steichen gained invaluable experience with dual-threat quarterbacks, run-based offenses and more pass-heavy schemes. He will be ready for whatever Richardson’s inexperience throws at him. That’s good because the rest of the roster has fallen from its 2019-20 heights. Now that he has finally settled his biggest question, Ballard can get back to work on rebuilding his offensive line and stockpiling defensive difference makers.

Ballard has lost some ground, far removed from being considered one of the top general managers in the league just a few seasons ago. The 2022 season was perhaps the most tumultuous in recent memory for Ballard. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time as bad decisions for several seasons since Andre Luck retired came back to haunt the team.

It all came crashing down with a 4-12-1 record and an end-of-season press conference where Ballard emphatically stated, “I failed.” He openly admitted that he made several missteps that landed the Colts in their position that day. In his words, he was very “dogmatic” and “bullish” in certain areas, costing the organization.

The brutal but honest assessment from Daugherty gives Ballard credit for getting off the quarterback carousel, ending the Jeff Saturday experience, and landing Shane Steichen and Anthony Richardson. Daughtery also says Ballard must rebuild the team’s offensive line and stockpile defensive playmakers.


Chris Ballard was potentially ahead of Daugherty’s thinking with the 2023 draft class. The team drafted a record 12 players, including six defensive players and two offensive linemen. Ballard also added an initial group of 15 undrafted free-agent players, including some strong candidates to make the roster, like Alabama’s Emil Ekiyor.

Time will tell if Ballard has learned from his mistakes. The climb for the Colts begins again as off-season activities are underway this week.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire