Colts’ Chris Ballard ranked NFL’s top draft GM

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Kevin Hickey
·2 min read
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Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard was ranked as the best general manager when it comes to drafting since 2015 by Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.

Thanks to a superior 2018 draft class that included a pair of All-Pros in Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard, Ballard has become widely known around the league as a draft guru.

1) Chris Ballard, Colts

Best pick: Quenton Nelson | Round 1 (No. 6), 2018
Worst pick: Quincy Wilson | Round 2 (No. 46), 2017

Ballard’s reputation as one of the league’s best drafters is well earned, especially after coach Frank Reich joined him in Indianapolis. Ballard will be dining off the 2018 draft for years, with two All-Pros (Nelson and Darius Leonard), another great starter ( Braden Smith) and a terrific role player Nyheim Hines all in the same class. The 2020 crop of Michael Pittman, Jonathan Taylor and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Julian Blackmon is proof you don’t need a first-round pick for a draft class to make a huge impact. Ballard benefits in this exercise from having the job for just five years, because the more you draft, the more mistakes are bound to happen.

All four of Ballard’s draft classes have had their hits and misses. The 2017 class is easily Ballard’s worse and even then he scored values like Grover Stewart, Marlon Mack and Anthony Walker all on Day 3.

The Colts followed through on Ballard’s philosophy of building through the draft. They rarely make splash plays in free agency and prefer to build the foundation of the roster through the draft, which has allowed them to own a .500 record despite a 4-12 season in 2017.

With Carson Wentz now in at quarterback, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ballard trade back from No. 21 overall in order to recoup a pick or two he lost in the trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Expect Ballard to target the trenches early on in the draft while adding some depth at wide receiver, cornerback and tight end.

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