I don't think that many people are questioning Ballard's plan...yet. But his approach does have some drawbacks. And we have seen that play out in his pursuit of a few top FAs...unless he wasn't really pursuing those FAs.
Setting aside the Hankins signing, which was somewhat of a unique situation (much like Breeland)...the past two offseasons have actually been fairly similar strategies.
Last offseason, Ballard signed a second-tier FA (Sheard), a mid-level FA (Simon)...and a bunch of 1-2 year flyer deals (unless I am missing someone). He was overturning the roster and the Colts had so many holes in the roster.
Fast forward to this offseason...and he signs a second-tier FA (Ebron) a mid-level FA (Autry) and a couple more 1-2 year flyer deals. But this time he didn't need all of those flyer FAs like last year because Ballard knew he was going to be able to supplement the roster through draft picks (he was always going to trade out of #3).
Thinking back on it, he actually alluded to this when asked why he wasn't signing FAs with so much cap space. He said they decided to trade back instead. At the time, it didn't make sense...because the two aren't mutually exclusive. But it sort of makes sense now. In Ballard's mind, the extra draft picks just replaced a few FAs in his offseason strategy. Had the Colts been picking in the middle of the 1st round, I think we would have seen a nearly identical offseason as last year.