After the way this past season went, and after seeing the other teams in the post season/super bowl, do you think Ballard will change his approach to free agency? Or is he going to be stubborn and stick to what he’s been doing?
— Nathaniel T. (@NTolliver1987) March 6, 2022
A: It depends on how we look at his established approach. To me, the 2021 Offseason was an outlier in the Free Agency portion of the offseason during Ballard’s tenure. There was a distinct lack of shrewd 2nd Wave Free Agents signed to the Colts, with the most notable one being a much later post Draft signing of Eric Fisher. Heck, the annual 1 Free Agent WR streak ended for the Colts, which could resume this offseason based on the Colts’ ongoing needs. Yep
In the draft, Ballard chose not to trade back early, a bit unusual in the 1st for him as he likes to trade back and accumulate more 2nds to help fill out the roster more. Instead, he chose to stay pat at both round 1 and round 2, taking a new pair of pass rushers in Kwity Paye & Dayo Odeyingbo.
While I expect Ballard to be more aggressive in 2022 than usual, I don’t expect him to spend crazy big money on more than one, maybe two, Free Agents. If he really likes a guy, he is not afraid to go out and get him but expect his criteria to remain the same. Outside of QBs and Fisher, Ballard tends to avoid going for big $ free agents or tradeable players on the wrong side of 30. He will pursue some of the older free agents but rarely pays a premium for them. His positional specifications for some positions might change with a new defensive Coordinator in Gus Bradley (smaller and faster on DE, more range and speed at Safety, for example).
Reich and Ballard’s seats are a bit warmer after a disappointing 2022 season, so there is pressure to make bigger moves and swings for the fences. While I don’t know if Ballard will go crazy on spending, a big move or two is certainly not out of the question for a true difference-maker and a handful of solid value Day 2 FA signings to round out the roster.
Has the combine meant any prospects you thought would be first rounders might fall to be available for the Colts in the 2nd round due to their poor performance?
— Sebastian Bench (@BenchSebastian) March 6, 2022
A: Several prospects lowered their stocks in Indy this past few days, most notably Round 1 hopefuls Texas A&M DT DeMarvin Leal, Purdue WR David Bell, & Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller.
DeMarvin got outclassed on athletic testing by the Georgia duo of Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, who was 2 of his biggest competition for the top DT of the draft. With an inconsistent tape, the pressure is on for his pro day to recement himself in Round 1.
Isaiah Spiller was also a Round 2 guy who could go Round 1 depending on his Combine. Still, his decision to opt-out allowed others to take center stage as several top RBs showed off insane physical abilities. Breece Hall & Kenneth Walker both did phenomenally in testing, possibly solidifying them as the top 2 backs. Spiller will need a strong pro-day performance to regain his ground in the Top RB race.
Will David Bell fall back into the mid rounds due to his combine performance? And of all prospects at the combine, who helped themselves the most and who the most disappointing?
— Craig 👑 (@theclassycraig) March 7, 2022
A: David Bell was never expected to wow at the Combine but at least put up solid Vert and Broad jump numbers and decent speed. But a slow 4.65 40yd dash with bad 10-20 yd splits and only 33” vertical jump and 9ft 10” broad jump along with horrendous agility drill testing lowered him from a borderline Round 1 WR to possibly a Round 3 target with so many other WRs performing far better.
Of the Prospects that helped themselves the most from the combine, several stand out:
- Breece Hall RB
- QB Desmond Ridder
- QB Malik Willis
- DT Jordan Davis
- DT DeVonte Wyatt
- DT Perion Winfrey
- CB Tariq Woolen
- CB Zyon McCollum
- CB Sailuce Gardner
- S Nick Cross
- S JT Woods
- WR Calvin Austin
- WR Alec Pierce
- WR Christian Watson
- TE Greg Dulcich
- EDGE Travon Walker
- EDGE Amare Barno
- EDGE Boye Mafe
- EDGE Dominique Robinson
- LB Leo Chenel
- LB Troy Andersen
- LB Chad Muma
Of course there were many others who stood out but these are a handful who did phenomenally and rose their stock considerably.
On the flip side here are some of the players whose stock fell during the combine:
- QB Kenny Pickett
- RB Kyren Willams
- WR Treylon Burks
- TE Cole Turner
- TE Jake Ferguson
- G Kenyon Green
- OT Max Mitchell
- DT DeMarvin Leal
- DE George Karlaftis
- DE Myjai Sanders
- DE Kingsley Enagbare
- DE Jake Luketa
- LB Devin Lloyd
- CB Jermaine Waller
- CB Kyler Gordon
Do you think that “having a replacement” dictates whether the front office feels they need to keep Wentz or not? pic.twitter.com/bPCZ5paFhj
— Stephen Rodgers (@tru_blue18) March 7, 2022
A: The Colts currently don’t have an active replacement on the roster for Wentz, but from possible reports, they could have an outside replacement in mind. Nothing confirmed yet on those rumors.
However, a replacement option could affect whether Wentz stats or goes based on the Colts’ goal/expectations for 2022. They could pursue the dreaded “tank” and focus on developing the roster while preparing for a 2022 or 2023 Draft QB to start the season after. Should that happen, shopping Wentz for picks would be a likely move. Or if the Colts plan to reload and give themselves the best chance for success in 2022, they would need to evaluate if Wentz is the best option for them to have said success based on his performance and how he carries himself off the field.
If rumors about Carson Wentz’s off-the-field behavior and personality are true, then the Colts should have little reason to keep him regardless of replacement as they feel he would not be the right man to lead them in 2022. If said rumors have no merit, and then the Colts would be evaluating Wentz solely off of his mixed 2021 performance, then the presence of a replacement option becomes more integral to the Colts’ goals of competing in 2022.
In my opinion, the Colts roster is too good to truly tank, and the rumors are coming from some solidly sourced reporters now. The Colts remaining consistently non-committal on Wentz speaks volumes as well. At the beginning of the offseason, I believed that Wentz would still be the most likely candidate for the Colts QB in 2022. But clearly, the winds are shifting at this moment in the other direction. While it is still possible he is, it seems that coach Frank Reich will likely have his 5th different starting QB in as many seasons in 2022.