I’m a big fan of Ballard, but I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to make a comparison of a guy 3 years in, with 2 of 3 years forced to play a backup QB, vs a guy that has a HOF resume.
Because it’s more recent, it’s easy to focus more on Polian’s later years and all the misses, but his first 20 years were historic. Built an awful Bills team into Super Bowl team 4 straight years (he was fired before the 4th trip). Took expansion Panthers to Super Bowl in just 3 years. We know his Colts history.
Hopefully, we can compare them 5 years from now. That would be 8 years of Ballard, which will mean he’s had success here.
Polian's first round draft picks were generally immediate hits and played at a high level for many years, as did the players he inherited, Glenn and Harrison. Ballard hasn't been around long enough to have that kind of record yet. Kelly and Luck probably fit into the immediate hit with longevity bucket, provided Luck had the same football drive as PM of course.