Colts send ‘game balls’ to their draft picks’ college teams, agents

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Indianapolis Colts cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (34) was the team's top draft choice in 2019.
Temple product Rock Ya-Sin, a cornerback, was the top draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Indianapolis Colts and general manager Chris Ballard have been taking an extra step in making a great gesture to the people who helped them put their draft class together.

Check out this tweet from former Temple (now Georgia Tech) head coach Geoff Collins:

That’s a “game ball,” not unlike the ones teams issue to players and coaches after big wins. And now the Colts have turned this into an NFL draft thing. It’s brilliant, really. It also includes a note from Ballard. We can’t read all of what it says, but it appears more than just a cursory note.

The Colts drafted Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin as their top overall choice, near the top of Round 2 after trading down twice. The Colts since then have made it known that they had offers to trade down again, from the 34th spot. But Ya-Sin was too good in their eyes.

And the Colts clearly appreciated the help they got from the Temple program in painting the picture of the prospect Ya-Sin could be. That’s why Ballard and Co. have taken the extra step – not all teams do this – of sending this ball to the people at the schools who helped them.

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Look who else got Colts footballs

It’s not just the college teams, either. Here’s agent C.J. LaBoy, who represents the Colts’ second pick this year (TCU LB Ben Banogu), showing off his ball.

The Colts had to make dozens of these balls, you figure. They drafted 10 players this year, and between the college coaches, strength coaches, agents and personal trainers who assisted the prospects and the Colts in giving the full scouting picture on their players.

So what’s the big deal?

The Colts don’t have to do this, of course. This is just a gesture that shows a rare personal touch.

But does it matter in the end? We say yes, it absolutely does.

You never know when these relationships can pay off in scouting. The college programs are likely to remember this quite proudly. They’ll display the balls in the facilities and behind the coaches’ desks. It will help the college teams in recruiting.

But it also will help the Colts, we suspect. It could be the difference in establishing full trust between Ballard and that program. Be good to college coaches, and they’ll reward you with candor and full disclosure on prospects down the road.

Perhaps it’s the difference in convincing one key undrafted free agent to sign with Indianapolis – and that applies to both the agents and the college programs working with the NFL teams. There’s a bond that has been established with one simple football that maybe cost $100 to produce.

Taking it further, maybe there’s a GA or former player who wants to break into the NFL (or a former Colts player who wants to get into college coaching), and that relationship might grease the wheels for that happening. You never know what can happen from a strong bond in this business. It’s a relationship industry, everyone will tell you time and time again.

This is a great example of that. And kudos to the Colts for this. It wouldn’t be shocking to see other NFL teams see this and follow suit starting with the 2020 NFL draft. They’d be dumb not to.

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