INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Ballard and his personnel staff got a lot done during the three-day, seven-round, 262-pick NFL Draft.
They delivered a pair of playmakers on offense (Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods), a left tackle with starter potential (Bernhard Raimann), an athletic, physical safety (Nick Cross), two interior defensive line prospects (Eric Johnson and Curtis Brooks, another power-forward-sized tight end (Drew Ogletree) and a linebacker/safety/cornerback out of Yale (Rodney Thomas III).
“Good weekend for us,” Ballard said Saturday evening.
Eight selections overall, which runs his six-year tally to 53.
But they wanted more. They always want more.
“You always wish you had more picks, you know?” Ballard said with a smile. “When I was sitting there in the fourth round, I was like, ‘Aw dog, man.’ You wish (you had more).
“I think Baltimore had six of ‘em. It was like watching myself bleed getting them to take all those players.”
More always is better.
“You want to get as many shots as you can to take talent,” Ballard said, “and the more picks you’ve got, the better chance the hit rate’s going to be.”
Along with adding explosive talent to the offense (again, Pierce and Woods), the Colts were intent on adding more youth to their roster.
“We’re still pretty young,” Ballard said, “but the group from ’18, now they’re four years in the league. One of our big objectives was we wanted to add as many young, talented players as we could to create as much competition as we could.
“Look, we all know what makes people better: having to compete. We think we’ve added some guys that are going to compete.”
The door hasn’t been closed on T.Y. Hilton returning to the Colts, but did the draft and the addition of Pierce alter things?
“Like I’ve said all along, I still think he can still play, “Ballard said. “We’ll work through that. We’ll see.”
Reich on Pierce
One of the attractive traits of Pierce is his versatility. He’s seen as a wideout capable of working outside as well as working out of the slot.
Coach Frank Reich requires his receivers to know every position and moves them around, but sees the 6’1″, 211-pound Pierce in a particular role.
“I like him outside,” he said. “He’ll move around… but one of the things I like on his tape is I like him outside. I think he’s very good versus press. I think he’s got length and vertical speed to get down the field. I think for his size he’s a very good route runner.”
Reich on tight ends
The Colts restocked their tight ends room with Woods and Ogletree. Reich approved.
“I feel good about that room,” he said. “As you know, the offense really wants to be tight end-centric in some ways. A lot of playmaking goes on in the middle of the field. You get unique matchups. There’s a lot of things you can do with formations.”
As expected, Ballard and his staff were busy as soon as the draft ended. They signed or agreed to terms with more than a dozen undrafted players.
Among them: Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan; wideouts Kekoa Crawford of California, Samson Nacua of BYU and Michael Young Jr. of Cincinnati; Marshall center Alex Molette; running backs Max Borghi of Washington State, D’Vonte Price of Florida International and C.J. Verdell of Oregon; offensive tackle Ryan Van Demark of UConn; linebackers Forrest Rhyne and JoJo Domann of Nebraska; defensive end Cullen Wick of Tulsa, guard Josh Seltzner of Wisconsin, safety Sterling Weatherford of Miami (Ohio) and cornerback Dallis Flowers of Pittsburgh State.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.