Colts not likely to go after quarterbacks in NFL Draft
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The task is onerous, but Chris Ballard has ample resources at his disposal.
Committed to rebuilding the Indianapolis Colts’ flawed roster through the NFL draft, he’s clutching nine overall picks in the April 26-28 process, including the 6th overall selection.
What to do? What to address?
“Do we need upgrades at a lot of spots? Absolutely,’’ Ballard said.
We continue to lobby for Ballard to invest his lottery pick in Bradley Chubb, if the North Carolina State defensive end still is on the board when the Colts are on the block. Pass rushers dictate the effectiveness of defenses, and first-time coordinator Matt Eberflus lacks a legitimate threat.
However, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to argue if Ballard opts to add a game-breaking running back (Penn State’s Saquon Barkley), a stud guard (Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson), a run-and-hit inside linebacker (Georgia’s Roquan Smith) or perhaps a defensive back (Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick or Ohio State’s Denzel Ward).
Again, there are serious needs everywhere.
Except, it appears, quarterback.
As many as four quarterbacks could come off the board within the top 10 picks, perhaps even the top 5, but the Colts aren’t in the market even though questions remain regarding the status of Andrew Luck.
Even though the team’s $140 million QB hadn’t resumed throwing a regulation football as of last Monday, everyone in the organization anticipates Luck being ready for the start of training camp in late July or early August and ready for the start of the regular season.
“I want to go into training camp without (limitations)…and feeling really, really good,’’ Luck said. “I’m very, very confident and very, very optimistic that I’m going to be absolutely fine and come back better than I was.’’
Offered Ballard: “Do I have any doubt that he’s going to be ready? No, I don’t.’’
While there’s no guarantee Luck’s shoulder will respond favorably when his throwing regimen incorporates a regulation football and steady throwing, one issue strikes us: If the organization had any serious concerns regarding Luck’s availability, it’s doubtful Ballard would have bailed out of the No. 3 slot.
In what would have sent shockwaves across the NFL landscape, Ballard could have stayed put and pushed the reset button by grabbing one of the top QBs.
And then there’s the Colts’ backup plan: Jacoby Brissett.
When it became apparent Luck’s rehab from surgery on his right shoulder wasn’t progressing as quickly as expected, Ballard acquired Brissett in a trade with New England the week before the season opener. Despite his lack of familiarity with the offense and his teammates, Brissett kept the Colts competitive. He would throw for 3,098 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions while under constant siege (a league-high 52 sacks).
No one knows if Brissett will develop into a legitimate NFL starter – he’s 25 and heading into his third season – but we would argue he might be a better 2018 option than one of the highly-touted QB prospects in the draft.
“I really liked Jacoby a lot,’’ coach Frank Reich said. “I evaluated him coming out (in 2016); had very high marks on him. I saw a lot of film this year just from cross-over film seeing the Colts play. There was a lot of evidence of winning football by Jacoby.
“I know he’s very smart. I know he’s got very good quarterback mechanics. I know he has very good play-making ability. So I’m very encouraged and thankful he’s on the roster.’’