Patient is Key

Summary and Analysis of the Indianapolis Colts’ offseason following the NFL Draft.


This NFL offseason is one to remember. Blockbuster trades, powerhouse divisions, super teams, and record-breaking contracts have been nothing short of plentiful this spring. To round it out the 2022 NFL draft followed suit with a completely unforeseen first overall pick, to unpredictable trades, and curios decisions. The chaos easily sucked in many teams as the value of wide receiver drastically increased and many quarterbacks found themselves in new colors. For example, Davante Adams, Christian Kirk, Stefon Diggs, and some others all scored $100+ million-dollar deals causing some unpredictable drama on teams like the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers and their star receivers, Aj Brown and Deebo Samuel respectively, in addition to many starting quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan finding themselves moving to new teams. However, amid the spiraling chaos one thing is certain, Chris Ballard, general manager for the Indianapolis Colts, kept to standard and remained patient against many fans’ wishes despite it being fruitful in the past. Here is an in depth look and analysis of the Colts’ free agent and draft period as well as some predictions for this season.  

Media captured from popular Colts fan media account @coltsmilitia on instagram.

As mentioned above, many Colts fans, and I mean many, were not too excited when they saw the familiar pattern of holding their cards close and feeling the market out resonating from the Colts’ front office. This has been Ballard’s strategy for all his 5 seasons with the Colts and, until recently, many Colts enthusiasts were growing tired of missing big time free agents and, most of all, not getting to see the Colts draft on night one. Through February, as teams going guns blazing scoring players like Christian Kirk and Davante Adams, the rhetoric towards the Colts’ passivity was increasingly negative. For example, the Colts were commonly characterized with this meme:  

However, Ballard remained to his strategy and, as usual, opportunity presented itself. To start the show Ballard traded away let down QB1 Carson Wentz following a tragic and utterly embarrassing performance drop off in the final two weeks of the season ending what could have been a long playoff push before it could begin. Wentz, who was gained in the 2021 offseason for a 2021 third round draft pick and what would become a 2022 first. Ballard rectified this draft pick deficit with a series of trades and signings resulting in the Colts gaining Matt Ryan, former MVP from the Atlanta Falcons, Yannick Ngakoue, pass rush phenom from the Las Vegas Raiders, and Rodney McLeod, pro-bowl safety from the Philadelphia Eagles, as well as other crucial pieces. Following this the Colts headed into draft week.  

Night one was quiet, for the Colts at least; the rest of the league had spontaneously combusted. The Jaguars opened the draft taking Trevon Walker, linebacker from Georgia, over long thought number one overall Aidan Hutchinson, defensive end from Michigan, which was followed by the Texans questionable pick of Derek Stingley Jr. at third overall and, most notably, the trade of AJ Brown by the Titans to move up in the first and gain a first and a third round pick from the Eagles; and that was just in the AFC South. Entering rounds two and three Ballard played his cards perfectly.  

Photo of Alec Pierce getting aligned in a game for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Media captured from Cincinnati media page

To start the night he selected Alec Pierce, wide receiver from Cincinnati, who fits perfectly in addition to Michael Pittman Jr. in a wide receiver room seeming to center around physicality and height. Standing at 6’3 and 213 pounds while running a 4.41 second forty-yard dash and having a history of physically dominating defensive backs to make catches the Colts rookie adds another Pittman style threat making both more dangerous. Heading into the third the Colts took Jaleni Woods, tight end from Virginia, to fill a much needed spot in the absence of now retired Jack Doyle. In a trio with Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson, Woods meets a middle ground between the running-blocking expertise of Granson and the pure size of Alie-Cox.  

To follow these selections Ballard made what could become the steal of the draft by selecting Bernhard Raimann, and offensive tackle from Central Michigan, at 77th overall. Projected as a first-round pick by many his fall to the third round is shocking yet pleasing to many Colts fans as they got a promising left tackle candidate to compete with recently extended Matt Pryor for role. With all three picks complete the Colts’ fans settled down for the night. Until Ballard pulled yet another trick out of God knows where to gain an additional third round pick from the Denver Broncos for a 2022 fifth round selection and a 2023 third. With this pick the Colts took Nick Cross, a safety from Maryland, who is known for his physicality and his knack for being involved in every tackle. With four picks in one night, it is easy to see Ballard’s passive nature paid off considering the pressure to trade into the first round for a top tier wide receiver or other talent. To close out the draft the Colts also gained defensive tackle Eric Johnson in the fifth, tight end Andrew Ogletree and defensive tackle Curtis Brooks in the sixth, and linebacker Rodney Thomas in the seventh.  

With all in consideration, needs, wants, and divisional competition the Colts could not have asked for a better draft. With a desperate need for a tight end and some explosive talent in the wide receiver room the Colts immediately fulfilled both of those. In addition to gaining some depth back on the offensive line following the loss of Mark Glowinski and Chris Reed in free agency with Bernhard Raimann and added yet another piece to their drastically improved defensive secondary after gaining Stephon Gilmore, an all-pro cornerback from Carolina, and Rodney McLeod. With the Jaguars still attempting a program wide rebuild, the Titans trading away vital pieces to their success, and the Texans making questionable decisions. The Colts are headed into the summer as the frontrunner in the AFC with the Titans at a close second. However, in traditional Colts fashion that means little as Indy fans know all too well that adversity, tragedy, and likely some bad luck will eventually appear. And this season depends on if the Colts can withstand this adversity better than they did last year. Story by Alex Boothby