I think all you have to do to realize that things have been mediocre to bad, barring Lucks 18' rebound/goodbye season is to look at this teams record over the last 5 years.
I'm not sure what's really going on at this point with respects to a rebuild, it's like a house that was close to finished and then the roof got blown off, after dealing with floods.
I like CeeDee Lamb but the only way I would take him is if we move back a couple spots and pick up another 2nd Rounder. I don't think he will last that long but I think we could still grab the monster DT and grab a really good WR in the 2nd round still. Hoping Paris Campbell can stay on the field and actually be productive, we will be in a good shape.
With more and more players retiring early and in their prime, should the NFL look at giving comp picks for these players? For those unsure about comp picks, they are draft picks given to teams when they lose a player due to free agency. So if a team has a player that goes out to another team and signs a massive contract and said team doesn't bring in any other big name free agent they gain a higher comp pick (as high as a third round). This is supposed to keep teams competitive however you see a team like the Patriots who seem to play the comp game very well and nearly abuse it. If the same team signs other free agents to the sum of the player they lost they get no picks. There are a total of 32 picks given throughout round 3-7 which is makes up enough picks for 8 rounds.
I personally would argue that losing a star player to an early retirement is much more detrimental to a team then losing a player due to free agency. I mean after all a team can franchise tag a player, or it's that teams fault for not being able to or unwilling to negotiate with a player. So often the loss of a player for the team is up to the team and in their eyes it obviously was not going to hurt the team bad enough.
In 2016 the colts received a 4th round comp pick after losing Coby Fleener, Jerrell Freeman and Dwight Lowery. They only signed Patrick Robinson and Scott Tolzien that year. Now I will ask you, what hurt the team more, losing those 3 players or losing Andrew Luck? I also think if it shows that a team really struggled after the season it should reflect the value of the pick. For instance in 2018 with Luck the Colts went 10-6 and to the divisional round of the playoffs, while having the 6th ranked passing offense. In 2019 after the loss of Luck they went 7-9 missing the playoffs and being ranked 30th in passing. That is a clear and obvious regression in losing a player. The team also has absolutely zero control in this situation and are just kind of stuck.
A team to watch for next year in a clear and obvious regression is the Panthers. They still had the 10th ranked defense and with the loss of a leader in Luke Kuechly, will we see a major decline in that teams defense as a whole? If they do then I absolutely believe they deserve a comp pick. I obviously believe there should be a criteria such as a player coming off a pro bowl, all pro, being top 10 in their position, the age 30 or under, or their team sees a massive drop off.
To keep a team from abusing it, say a team has a player that will be going to IR and will miss the entire season so they convince them to retire for the year and unretire the next season just to pick up the pick, then they will lose any comp pick for the next 2 seasons. This would also help players such as Trent Williams who want to get away from a team so they retire and after a year unretire and make the organization either release/ trade them or lose what could be an impactful comp pick for them. Sorry for the long post.
Or, Luck may have realized that we are no closer to competing for a SB than any other year he's been here, and would have to carry the team by himself to get there....just like very other year that he's been here
Maybe he just figured that the future looked like a constant cycle of injury and rehab....nothing different than previous years.....and faked leg pain to get out of it.
The only problem Ballard has had has been the over expectations of the base, and misconceptions. First off, he was not handed a bad roster. He inherited a probowl C, a #1 WR, a strong LT, and franchise QB. Those are positions that all take first round picks that he didn't have to spend.
He had a huge leg up on most new GMs who start with a new team. He inherited some big time players on offense.
His adversity came with having to stick with one of the worst HCs the NFL has ever seen, and blew his first draft on trying to accommodate that defense. Ballard's set back was Irsay probably forcing him to stick with Pagano for one season....not the roster he inherited.
Ballard did not inherit a core of young defensive players, because the previous defense was built to win now with vet FAs. And, it did win when the franchise QB was healthy. Mission accomplished, for the most part.
Ballard's biggest setbacks are having to deal with Pagano for a year and then having his Qb retire. Most other decisions are on him, and there has been a normal mix of good and not so good decisions.