INDIANAPOLIS – The 2023 Combine marks the 7th for Chris Ballard as the general manager of the Colts.
Ballard was peppered with many quarterback-centric questions this week, along with some other tidbits on his roster.
Here are some of the highlights from Ballard (and Steichen’s are here) at the Combine
- On the QB draft class in 2023: “I don’t know if it’s any different than any other year. I mean, I think there’s good players. You know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think everybody’s going to see each guy for see the strengths and weaknesses of what they see and what how they fit their team. But it’s a good group.”
- On the QB traits Ballard is looking for: “One that wins? No, I mean, you want to you want a guy who’s got a fast mind who’s accurate. Like we get caught up in arm strength, but a guy that is accurate. And then who makes plays when the game’s on the line? And I know I’m going to get this question but like I think we’re seeing today they come in all different shapes and sizes. You look around the league. And I think you can track this back to 7-on-7 back in high school, 20, 25 years ago when they started, that more kids … you’re getting a lot more athletes playing the position. So they’re going to come in different shapes, different sizes, some tall, some short, some athletes, the ability to move, navigate the pocket, escape from the pocket, create plays with your feet. I mean, all those are things that we’re seeing in our league. Not that we haven’t seen them before, but I think it’s even become more prevalent.”
- On the size of a quarterback and Ballard’s emphasis on measureables: “And we still are (focused on that) and I’m not going to sit and say we’re not but there’s always exceptions. And we’ve seen that at the quarterback position here in the past and we’ve had guys that are have been under 6-foot be successful. I know there’s been times I’ve grabbed some guys can be too tall. Now we’re going to say they’re too short? So I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And who do you believe in who do you believe you can build an offense around? And I do know this: You don’t fit the offense to the quarterback; you fit the offense to what the quarterback can do well. I think that’s what Shane (Steichen) and the staff will do.”
- On the offensive line issues yesterday being personnel related: “We had a young left tackle. And we had a new starting right guard and the group as a group, it was valuable experience for those young guys you know, we need to we need our best players to play to their potential. And we need those guys to continue to improve. We’ll continue to look to add. But that is an area where like, I think you all have been around me long enough like it guts me. When you can’t block people, it’s hard to win. It is hard to win. And that’s an area that we will make sure we have enough competition and enough depth. You know, here moving forward where we’ll be good up front.”
- On what makes Bryce Young intriguing: “Guys dynamic, won a lot of won a lot of games on a big stage. It was never too big for him. I think all those are qualities that he’s proven in his college career that have made him successful.”
- On the debate of trading up to No. 1 overall: “I know all the speculation out there. One to move up, there’s got to be a guy worthy of it. Okay? I know everybody in America is going to say like, this is what’s great right now…everybody has just automatically stamped that you’ve got to move up to No. 1 to get it right. I don’t know if I agree with that. I don’t. But that’s going to be the narrative and that’s okay. You all got to write something you got to keep the news flowing. But I don’t necessarily know if that’s the right course of business. If when we meet as a staff and we say, ‘Okay, this is what we need to do this the guy for the next 10 to 15 years.’ And we think he’s the right guy. Sure, we’ll do it. But who’s to say we won’t get one at 4.”
- On if Matt Ryan will be on the Colts roster for the 2023 season: We’ll work thru it with Shane. We’re just getting the staff settled. We’ll start working through things next week.
- On the defensive end need: “We’re always going to have depth. And we need to do a good job of making sure we got to eight nine man rotation. Really like how Kwity (Paye) and Dayo (Odeyingbo) came on. And so I do think that those two kids are still young players and they’re starting to come on of course we’re going to continue to add and look to add. Yannick (Ngakoue) ended up having a really good year for us. And it was great to have him here in Indy and we’ll see what happens going forward. But we’ll continue to always try to have eight nine defensive linemen that we can roll in and out.”
- On Shaquille Leonard’s second surgery and knowing where he’s at right now: “Not really. Just what I will say it is different because we’ve made progress and he’s made progress. But it’s a day-by-day thing and he just continues to work through it. We’ll hope for the best. I know he’s working hard and doing everything he can to get back right.”
- On what he’s learned about Shane Steichen: “That he’s all ball now. He is all ball, which I like. Look, he’s very thorough. He’s very detailed. It’s been fun to watch him go through the interview process of for his staff. And there’s not a stone he’s not going to turn to try to get the thing right, so that’s been that’s been fun to see.”
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