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Ben Banogu


carmelcolt
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I was wondering why I haven't heard much from him this year or for that matter last year. I looked at his stats this year and he has only played 7 games, not sure how many he was a healthy scratch or not but he did play 16 last year. what I did find amazing was in 23 games he has played in he has a total of 17 tackles. 2.5 sacks and 1 FF. I know Ballard spoke really high of him when he was drafted but he seems like he is getting less and less in rotation and his stats seem to be really on the low side.

 

Does anyone think this one of the Ballards rare misses in the draft, he is playing out of position or could it be like Jerry Hughes where it took him longer to develop, or are we just spoiled by Chris Ballard's drafting ability and finding players who contribute right away. 

 

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I have know idea to be honest. I have random and competing thoughts.

 

  1. I think he was ultra raw given the system he came from. Maybe he does need more time
  2. I think Ballard got too cute with all the SAM projection talk, and he may have overlooked some deficiencies he had at DE.
  3. He's cheap for another year, so not a big deal to give him another offseason to develop, and next year to try and show something
  4. Wouldn't be shocked if he's cut early in camp this spring either.
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Healthy scratch, the way you play in practice is how you get to play on gameday.

 

The only thing defending him that I heard was that it takes a couple years for pass rushers to have the light turn on.  

 

Remember, most people thought that Lewis was a bust, until this season.  Not that Grover was ever bad, but he's really improved this season.

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1 minute ago, Smonroe said:

Healthy scratch, the way you play in practice is how you get to play on gameday.

 

The only thing defending him that I heard was that it takes a couple years for pass rushers to have the light turn on.  

 

Remember, most people thought that Lewis was a bust, until this season.  Not that Grover was ever bad, but he's really improved this season.

Also remember when the Colts gave up on Jerry Hughes too soon and traded him for nothing #ThanksGrigson.

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“Is this one of Ballard’s rare misses?”

 

Definitely thought it was a good possibility when we drafted him.

 

Guys like he and Rock...super raw athletes in the 2nd round...not big on those. Then again I loved the Leonard pick at the time, so...

 

Banogu could turn it around like Tyquan though. He came in about as raw as it gets for a pass rusher (which isn’t exactly reassuring).

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I wonder could they look at returning to that SAM role they originally had in mind for him. We may not be re-signing Walker and there could be a starting spot there next year. May not be too late to make that transition with 2 years left on his rookie deal.

 

It would also help Ben if he played special teams like Marsh does.

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7 minutes ago, Colt Overseas said:

I wonder could they look at returning to that SAM role they originally had in mind for him. We may not be re-signing Walker and there could be a starting spot there next year. May not be too late to make that transition with 2 years left on his rookie deal.

 

It would also help Ben if he played special teams like Marsh does.

Sounded the like the SAM experiment was pretty bad, and ended quickly.

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Well, first of all, the idea that how many players are starting from the draft picks is really not a good measure of how good the draft picks are.  Ballard gutted the D and started a new scheme.  Because of that, he started off by having nobody to play the positions, so by default adding players via FA and the draft is going to result in immediate starters regardless of their quality.

 

In fact, if you look, our best players on defense have come via short term vet FA, not the draft, so his drafting has really been less than spectacular on defense.

 

Having said that, Ben is now competing for time with players who are already here, as opposed to guys like Turay and Lewis who could get PT when the roster was slim.  Ben has greater competition for experience than did the guys he's currently competing with.

 

So even if he has the same talent as the others, he's behind the curve and has to catch up, while the others just got plugged in immediately out of vacancy and need. 

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Of all our defensive lineman — all of them — Benagu is the most raw.   The most in need of coaching.   When Covid blew up the off-season it blew up BB’s season. 
 

Unfortunately, when that happed, BB’s attitude, which had been noted as a plus, became a minus.  As another poster noted, Flus made the public comment,  if you don’t practice hard, you don’t play.   So this has been a lost season for the kid.

 

All that said, let’s not forget Ballard has often said DL’s often take a few years to really figure it out at this level.  Lewis is the perfect example of that, and this is his third season.  So, I’d expect Ballard to scare the kid into reality this off-season.   It’s time to step up your game.  Work hard in this off-season to improve and show us in games what you can do.  If he doesn’t have a good year 3, there likely won’t be a year 4. 

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Also, remember that the plan for Lewis entering the season was for him to primarily back up Buckner inside, and while he's done a little of that, he's mostly shown (finally) what he can do at his more natural end position. So he's gotten a lot more snaps there than was expected, by anyone, entering the season. Those snaps have to come from some combination of snaps for others, and Banogu wasn't high on the depth chart at end, anyway. So that has to have had a big impact on his opportunities. Which could also play into why he may not be giving his best in practices, either. If he's seen somebody who everyone thought was going to be playing another position suddenly take a lot more snaps at his spot, he may have given up on trying as hard as he needs to.

 

It does happen.

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8 hours ago, Smonroe said:

Healthy scratch, the way you play in practice is how you get to play on gameday.

 

The only thing defending him that I heard was that it takes a couple years for pass rushers to have the light turn on.  

 

Remember, most people thought that Lewis was a bust, until this season.  Not that Grover was ever bad, but he's really improved this season.

To be fair, Lewis has finally played better but it’s mostly due to the fact that they finally figured out that 6’3” 265 lb guys don’t belong at 3-tech. Plus he’s only really shown that he’s a good rotational player. Maybe not a bust, but also not a home run pick either.

 

I think Ballard will draft another pass rusher regardless though. This time probably one more who is a more prototypical 4-3 DE. I think the hybrid, raw guys in the 2nd round are a thing of the past. I still stand by the fact that Banogu was not a good pick for several reasons that have been stated before. Out of all the picks, I think he is probably the TJ Green of Ballard’s draft portfolio.

 

You’d love to say jury’s still out, but it’s not trending in the right direction. I don’t know how many healthy scratch players just suddenly flip the switch.

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8 hours ago, DougDew said:

Well, first of all, the idea that how many players are starting from the draft picks is really not a good measure of how good the draft picks are.  Ballard gutted the D and started a new scheme.  Because of that, he started off by having nobody to play the positions, so by default adding players via FA and the draft is going to result in immediate starters regardless of their quality.

 

In fact, if you look, our best players on defense have come via short term vet FA, not the draft, so his drafting has really been less than spectacular on defense.

 

Having said that, Ben is now competing for time with players who are already here, as opposed to guys like Turay and Lewis who could get PT when the roster was slim.  Ben has greater competition for experience than did the guys he's currently competing with.

 

So even if he has the same talent as the others, he's behind the curve and has to catch up, while the others just got plugged in immediately out of vacancy and need. 

 

Not sure I agree here... Buckner is our best D player and he didn't come via FA, he came via trade by giving up a draft pick (so I'd say he's more like a draft pick than a FA pick up).  Leonard is our 2nd best D player and he came from the draft.  

 

Of our starting defenders, I'll bold who was via draft and italicize FA and I'll underline Buckner since he was really neither draft nor FA.

 

Houston

Stewart

Buckner

Autry

Leonard

Walker

Okereke

Ya-Sin

Willis

Blackmon

Rhodes

 

Other D performers:

Lewis

Turay

Adams

Franklin

Odum

Rodgers

Speed

Wilson

Moore II (though he wasn't a vet FA on a short deal)

Carrie

T. Smith

Stallworth

Muhammad

 

So of our 11 starters 7of them were via draft, 1 of them (Buckner) was more like a draft pick than a short term FA deal.  I'd say our best D players in terms of ranking go Buckner, Leonard, Rhodes, Stewart, HoustonBlackmon, Walker,  Willis, AutryOkereke, Ya-Sin.  

 

Ballard's gotten solid contributions from short term FA vets, but the majority of our D has came from the draft and we're getting solid contributions from the majority of them.

 

8 hours ago, Zoltan said:

According to a quote from Eberflus in November he just hasn't been practicing well, and if you don't practice hard you don't play.

 

https://coltswire.usatoday.com/2020/11/18/indianapolis-colts-ben-banogu-practice-inactive/

 

6 hours ago, NewColtsFan said:

Of all our defensive lineman — all of them — Benagu is the most raw.   The most in need of coaching.   When Covid blew up the off-season it blew up BB’s season. 
 

Unfortunately, when that happed, BB’s attitude, which had been noted as a plus, became a minus.  As another poster noted, Flus made the public comment,  if you don’t practice hard, you don’t play.   So this has been a lost season for the kid.

 

All that said, let’s not forget Ballard has often said DL’s often take a few years to really figure it out at this level.  Lewis is the perfect example of that, and this is his third season.  So, I’d expect Ballard to scare the kid into reality this off-season.   It’s time to step up your game.  Work hard in this off-season to improve and show us in games what you can do.  If he doesn’t have a good year 3, there likely won’t be a year 4. 

 

3 hours ago, PrideOfAthens17 said:

Also, remember that the plan for Lewis entering the season was for him to primarily back up Buckner inside, and while he's done a little of that, he's mostly shown (finally) what he can do at his more natural end position. So he's gotten a lot more snaps there than was expected, by anyone, entering the season. Those snaps have to come from some combination of snaps for others, and Banogu wasn't high on the depth chart at end, anyway. So that has to have had a big impact on his opportunities. Which could also play into why he may not be giving his best in practices, either. If he's seen somebody who everyone thought was going to be playing another position suddenly take a lot more snaps at his spot, he may have given up on trying as hard as he needs to.

 

It does happen.

 

'Flus' quote says nothing about effort that Banogu is giving... he says: “I just think that with any player, I think that it’s about practice. You practice well and you produce on the practice field, and then you move on to the game from there,” said DC Matt Eberflus on Tuesday. “Then you have to produce in the game. He’s working to get that done.”

 

Flus says he is working to be more productive.  Not producing in practice doesn't mean he's not giving a solid effort.  It could very well just mean he's not being terribly productive, though he is trying and working hard.  

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44 minutes ago, CurBeatElite said:

 

Not sure I agree here... Buckner is our best D player and he didn't come via FA, he came via trade by giving up a draft pick (so I'd say he's more like a draft pick than a FA pick up).  Leonard is our 2nd best D player and he came from the draft.  

 

Of our starting defenders, I'll bold who was via draft and italicize FA and I'll underline Buckner since he was really neither draft nor FA.

 

Houston

Stewart

Buckner

Autry

Leonard

Walker

Okereke

Ya-Sin

Willis

Blackmon

Rhodes

 

Other D performers:

Lewis

Turay

Adams

Franklin

Odum

Rodgers

Speed

Wilson

Moore II (though he wasn't a vet FA on a short deal)

Carrie

T. Smith

Stallworth

Muhammad

 

So of our 11 starters 7of them were via draft, 1 of them (Buckner) was more like a draft pick than a short term FA deal.  I'd say our best D players in terms of ranking go Buckner, Leonard, Rhodes, Stewart, HoustonBlackmon, Walker,  Willis, AutryOkereke, Ya-Sin.  

 

Ballard's gotten solid contributions from short term FA vets, but the majority of our D has came from the draft and we're getting solid contributions from the majority of them.

 

 

 

 

'Flus' quote says nothing about effort that Banogu is giving... he says: “I just think that with any player, I think that it’s about practice. You practice well and you produce on the practice field, and then you move on to the game from there,” said DC Matt Eberflus on Tuesday. “Then you have to produce in the game. He’s working to get that done.”

 

Flus says he is working to be more productive.  Not producing in practice doesn't mean he's not giving a solid effort.  It could very well just mean he's not being terribly productive, though he is trying and working hard.  

That’s what he said this week.  I think his comments a few weeks ago were somewhat different.   I think someone posted them.   
 

That said, he’s doing something wrong.  I don’t think you’re going to deny that?  It’s not just that he’s not playing much.  He’s a healthy inactive player most weeks.   Something is not right......

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2 hours ago, twfish said:

SAM experiment didnt happen at all. He was drafted to be a SAM but came in wanting to be an edge and has been in that position since.

Sure? Got a link? I thought I read reports of him in the SAM role in camp last year. And frankly not sure a rook can, or would say no to getting on the field in another position. At the same time, I don't think Ballard was talking about him being solely a SAM. More of a SAM+rush DE hybrid, sort of like Oke being a SAM + pass ILB hybrid.

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3 hours ago, NewColtsFan said:

That’s what he said this week.  I think his comments a few weeks ago were somewhat different.   I think someone posted them.   
 

That said, he’s doing something wrong.  I don’t think you’re going to deny that?  It’s not just that he’s not playing much.  He’s a healthy inactive player most weeks.   Something is not right......

 

I didn't see that post if you mean Ben wasn't trying hard in practice. 

 

Not saying healthy scratches are not a cause for concern... but keep in mind we cut Day and activated Turay and have made other moves on the DL front (activating Windsor, etc..).. there's also a reason why we haven't cut Ben.  I think they drafted him as a raw talent, knowing he was a raw talent.. Ballard has said coaching makes a big difference for some of the players he brings in here since day 1... there is also a reason why Patmon has been a healthy scratch every week and he doesn't get sent to the practice squad when guys like DeMichael Harris and Marcus Johnson come in and perform well but get thrown back to potential waiver wire right after they do so.  Ballard, Reich and others see something in Patmon that they don't want to expose him to the P.S. as they are developing him and think he has something special to offer but either need to see more development or are figuring out how to utilize his skills to the best of his ability? Is it too far fetched to think they see something special in Banogu to the point where they are not willing to put him to the P.S. or waive him and maybe either they are working on specific skills with him or trying to figure out how to optimize his talent?  

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One of the guys who covers the Colts said last weekend Ben’s problem is that he’s not good at special teams and in order to dress him they would have to take someone who is good at special teams out and have Ben play special teams.  So just some context.  It could be a motor issue as some have suggested or it could be the Colts are so deep on the line they can afford to not dress a guy for special teams needs.  

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2 hours ago, CurBeatElite said:

 

I didn't see that post if you mean Ben wasn't trying hard in practice. 

 

Not saying healthy scratches are not a cause for concern... but keep in mind we cut Day and activated Turay and have made other moves on the DL front (activating Windsor, etc..).. there's also a reason why we haven't cut Ben.  I think they drafted him as a raw talent, knowing he was a raw talent.. Ballard has said coaching makes a big difference for some of the players he brings in here since day 1... there is also a reason why Patmon has been a healthy scratch every week and he doesn't get sent to the practice squad when guys like DeMichael Harris and Marcus Johnson come in and perform well but get thrown back to potential waiver wire right after they do so.  Ballard, Reich and others see something in Patmon that they don't want to expose him to the P.S. as they are developing him and think he has something special to offer but either need to see more development or are figuring out how to utilize his skills to the best of his ability? Is it too far fetched to think they see something special in Banogu to the point where they are not willing to put him to the P.S. or waive him and maybe either they are working on specific skills with him or trying to figure out how to optimize his talent?  

 

I agree with most of what you've written here.   

 

But Ben played all 16 games of his rookie year.   And he played at the start of this season.   Not much,  but at least a little.  And then suddenly,  he wasn't playing.  He's played 7 of our 12 games.  So, something changed.   And it's typically something negative.   I don't think Flus's words, whatever they were,  can be spun into something other than negative.   

I don't see this as a positive growth year for him. 

 

To be clear.... I still believe in the kid.   I do right up until the moment the team says not to believe in him.   I try not to lose faith in young players too quickly.   There's already way too much of that around here.   Not my style.   Not my way.

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7 hours ago, Defjamz26 said:

To be fair, Lewis has finally played better but it’s mostly due to the fact that they finally figured out that 6’3” 265 lb guys don’t belong at 3-tech. Plus he’s only really shown that he’s a good rotational player. Maybe not a bust, but also not a home run pick either.

 

I think Ballard will draft another pass rusher regardless though. This time probably one more who is a more prototypical 4-3 DE. I think the hybrid, raw guys in the 2nd round are a thing of the past. I still stand by the fact that Banogu was not a good pick for several reasons that have been stated before. Out of all the picks, I think he is probably the TJ Green of Ballard’s draft portfolio.

 

You’d love to say jury’s still out, but it’s not trending in the right direction. I don’t know how many healthy scratch players just suddenly flip the switch.


Yeah...Lewis has improved...not really a breakout. Half of his 3.5 sacks have actually come at DT too...so it’s not all about playing DE.

 

He also started both of the GB and TEN games recently...with an ~80% snap share...and was largely ineffective as a pass rusher. He’s just a rotational guy who makes a play every now and then. 


Lewis is probably going to finish this season (his 3rd season) with 4-5 sacks in 40% of the snaps. That’s a decent season...but for comparison...the guy picked 3 spots after him (Chad Thomas) had a similar season last year (in his 2nd season)...and he’s currently a FA. 
 

So as of now...I guess we won’t say Lewis has been a bust...but not really a hit either. I think his run defense has been solid...but he hasn’t provided the type of production or been the type of player you would hope to get in a late 2nd round pick. It could be worse...but it could have been better...as there were several better players picked after him. 
 

So if Banogu comes out next season and has a “similar” season...I think we would have to look at him in a similar light. The difference being that Banogu was the alternative to picking a guy like Sweat and was picked ahead of a guy like AJ Brown...which is always going to sting a bit.

 

 

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17 hours ago, carmelcolt said:

I was wondering why I haven't heard much from him this year or for that matter last year. I looked at his stats this year and he has only played 7 games, not sure how many he was a healthy scratch or not but he did play 16 last year. what I did find amazing was in 23 games he has played in he has a total of 17 tackles. 2.5 sacks and 1 FF. I know Ballard spoke really high of him when he was drafted but he seems like he is getting less and less in rotation and his stats seem to be really on the low side.

 

Does anyone think this one of the Ballards rare misses in the draft, he is playing out of position or could it be like Jerry Hughes where it took him longer to develop, or are we just spoiled by Chris Ballard's drafting ability and finding players who contribute right away. 

 


well read this article published on stampede blue back in November. Apparently his practice performance has been poor.

 

https://www.stampedeblue.com/platform/amp/2020/11/17/21571968/colts-de-ben-banogu-has-been-inactive-for-consecutive-gamedays-because-of-practice-performance

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13 hours ago, CurBeatElite said:

Not sure I agree here... Buckner is our best D player and he didn't come via FA, he came via trade by giving up a draft pick (so I'd say he's more like a draft pick than a FA pick up).  Leonard is our 2nd best D player and he came from the draft.  

 

Of our starting defenders, I'll bold who was via draft and italicize FA and I'll underline Buckner since he was really neither draft nor FA.

 

Houston

Stewart

Buckner

Autry

Leonard

Walker

Okereke

Ya-Sin

Willis

Blackmon

Rhodes

 

Other D performers:

Lewis

Turay

Adams

Franklin

Odum

Rodgers

Speed

Wilson

Moore II (though he wasn't a vet FA on a short deal)

Carrie

T. Smith

Stallworth

Muhammad

 

So of our 11 starters 7of them were via draft, 1 of them (Buckner) was more like a draft pick than a short term FA deal.  I'd say our best D players in terms of ranking go Buckner, Leonard, Rhodes, Stewart, HoustonBlackmon, Walker,  Willis, AutryOkereke, Ya-Sin.  

 

Ballard's gotten solid contributions from short term FA vets, but the majority of our D has came from the draft and we're getting solid contributions from the majority of them.

You can quibble over semantics of whether or not we drafted Buckner, but my two points were that: 

 

1) in our 4th year, the best players on our defense are the vet FA "stop gap" acquisitions and only one actual draft pick (Leonard).  You've corroborated my point because most of the unbolded players are the better players we have.

 

2) Many of those bolded players who are starting or contributing didn't have much competition since they were drafted on the heels of there being vacancies on the defense due to scheme change.

 

I bring this up in a Banogu thread because it seems like there may be a difference in Ballard's ability to judge players who have an NFL playing  history (FAs and Buckner...who is here also because he signed a new FA contract upon arrival) and the players Ballard drafted out of college.  The former the better, the latter not so much.  And Ben is one of the latter, so add that to the equation about what we might expect.

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11 hours ago, EastStreet said:

Sure? Got a link? I thought I read reports of him in the SAM role in camp last year. And frankly not sure a rook can, or would say no to getting on the field in another position. At the same time, I don't think Ballard was talking about him being solely a SAM. More of a SAM+rush DE hybrid, sort of like Oke being a SAM + pass ILB hybrid.

IIRC when he was drafted ballard talked about him having traits like Jaimie Collins and expecting to use him in that role which i have not seen and i don't think panned out.   That may be in line with what you are saying here.

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1 hour ago, DougDew said:

You can quibble over semantics of whether or not we drafted Buckner, but my two points were that: 

 

1) in our 4th year, the best players on our defense are the vet FA "stop gap" acquisitions and only one actual draft pick (Leonard).  You've corroborated my point because most of the unbolded players are the better players we have.

 

2) Many of those bolded players who are starting or contributing didn't have much competition since they were drafted on the heels of there being vacancies on the defense due to scheme change.

 

I bring this up in a Banogu thread because it seems like there may be a difference in Ballard's ability to judge players who have an NFL playing  history (FAs and Buckner...who is here also because he signed a new FA contract upon arrival) and the players Ballard drafted out of college.  The former the better, the latter not so much.  And Ben is one of the latter, so add that to the equation about what we might expect.

 

I didn't corroborate your point at all.  Not even close.

 

Buckner is not a 'stop gap' FA.  We don't need to quibble about if he's a 'draft pick' or not, but but he certainly isn't a stop gap vet.  Regardless, we'll take him out of the equation.  Seven of our remaining 10 starters on D are guys who were drafted.  Houston, Autry and Rhodes are the 'stop gap FAs' you're talking about.  Houston has been good for us (he seems to be declining a bit this year).  Autry has been average for us.  Rhodes has been good for us this year.

 

Of the players Ballard drafted, 7 of them start.  Leonard is a stud.  Walker is a good player.  Blackmon and Willis are good players.  Stewart is a good player.  Okereke is having an off year but he's at least an average player.  Ya-Sin is struggling, though I am nowhere near ready to give up on him.

 

Of that back-ups on D, the only 'stop gap' vet FAs who contribute at all on D are Carrie, Wilson and Stallworth.  Carrie has played well in a fairly limited role.  Wilson looks pretty good when he's needed (which is when one of the safeties Ballard drafted is hurt).  Stallworth stinks.  Tremon Smith is on pace to finish the season with 3 tackles and pretty much doesn't play defense.

 

The remaining back-ups who actually contribute all were either drafted by the Colts, picked up as undrafted FAs, or signed early in their career after being waived by another team (Moore II, Muhammad).  Overall, the defensive backups who fall into that boat contribute far more significantly than the backups who were signed as vets and can be considered 'stop gap' types.  This list includes Lewis, Turay, Moore II, Muhammad, Rodgers, and Franklin with Adams, Speed and Glasgow serving primarily as STers.  Banogu has not been good this year, but he also has contributed some to the D.

 

The reason why Ballard has used stop gap FAs at times is because, like you said, he had to deal with a scheme change.  It was also combined with an absolute lack of talent on D leftover from Grigson.  Literally the only really good players on the D Ballard got from Grigs were Mathis (who retired), Adams (who was very old), and Davis (who had a bad groin injury).  Then there were some mediocre/average guys like an injured Henry Anderson,  Erik Walden, Zach Kerr, Hassan Ridgeway, Mathias Farley, Rashaan Melvin, Chris Milton, and Darius Butler.  Otherwise that defense was garbage (Kristjan Sokoli, TY McGill, David Parry, Antonio Morrison, Josh McNary, TJ Green, Duke WIlliams, etc.....).

 

Not only did Grigs leave our D in bad shape, but outside of Luck (who missed Ballard's entire first year), Hilton, Doyle, Kelly, and Castonzo our O was in pretty bad shape as well.  Ballard not only had to rebuild the defense, but essentially the entire offense as well (which became confounded when Luck retired right before Ballard's 3rd season began).

 

Ballard only has a limited number of draft picks per year and he inherited a trainwreck/dumpster fire of a team.  Of course he was going to have to sign stop gap type vets to fill some voids.  Here we are today, four years into Ballard's tenure with the Colts.  We're sitting at 8-4 and would be in the playoffs if they started today.  We have solid contributions from 3 stop gap starters on D (27%) with the remaining 8 starters (73%) being guys Ballard either drafted or acquired via draft pick to be a long term solution.  Our defense is in the top 10 in the entire NFL and is comprised with the vast majority of players being long term solutions which Ballard brought in via the draft.

 

Ballard said since day 1 he was going to build primarily through the draft.  He also said he would be drafting some players who would need coaching to develop them into high quality NFL players.  When Banogu was drafted, he fit that mold exactly.  He's in his 2nd year and recently experienced what was most likely the most bizarre off season in NFL history.  I'm not saying he's a bust quite yet, nor am I saying he is going to turn into a high quality NFL player with a little more time (though he could, it took Stewart ~3-4 years to become a solid interior DL).  That's not the argument here, you are suggesting Ballard has relied primarily on stop gap vet FAs to build the D and it simply is not the case.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Fluke_33 said:

IIRC when he was drafted ballard talked about him having traits like Jaimie Collins and expecting to use him in that role which i have not seen and i don't think panned out.   That may be in line with what you are saying here.

 

Yes, you're right: https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2019/04/27/chris-ballard-every-colts-draft-pick-2019/3599062002/

 

10 minutes ago, braveheartcolt said:

He was trash for us. Well, I suspect you knew I would pipe up!!

 

Ha, he was trash for us.  You're right.  I don't know what it was (lack of coaching, Hughes just needing more time, maybe the trade sparked a fire under him, slight scheme change in Buffalo or better D talent around him there?), but I tend to think Hughes wasn't going to be productive for us with the way we were using him.  I don't really consider it a bad trade at all, TBH, as Shepard was more productive for us in 2013 and Hughes was for us the previous few years.  Sometimes a change of scenery is needed for a person to reach their potential, and I'm glad it worked out for Hughes.  

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37 minutes ago, CurBeatElite said:

 

I didn't corroborate your point at all.  Not even close.

 

Buckner is not a 'stop gap' FA.  We don't need to quibble about if he's a 'draft pick' or not, but but he certainly isn't a stop gap vet.  Regardless, we'll take him out of the equation.  Seven of our remaining 10 starters on D are guys who were drafted.  Houston, Autry and Rhodes are the 'stop gap FAs' you're talking about.  Houston has been good for us (he seems to be declining a bit this year).  Autry has been average for us.  Rhodes has been good for us this year.

 

Of the players Ballard drafted, 7 of them start.  Leonard is a stud.  Walker is a good player.  Blackmon and Willis are good players.  Stewart is a good player.  Okereke is having an off year but he's at least an average player.  Ya-Sin is struggling, though I am nowhere near ready to give up on him.

 

Of that back-ups on D, the only 'stop gap' vet FAs who contribute at all on D are Carrie, Wilson and Stallworth.  Carrie has played well in a fairly limited role.  Wilson looks pretty good when he's needed (which is when one of the safeties Ballard drafted is hurt).  Stallworth stinks.  Tremon Smith is on pace to finish the season with 3 tackles and pretty much doesn't play defense.

 

The remaining back-ups who actually contribute all were either drafted by the Colts, picked up as undrafted FAs, or signed early in their career after being waived by another team (Moore II, Muhammad).  Overall, the defensive backups who fall into that boat contribute far more significantly than the backups who were signed as vets and can be considered 'stop gap' types.  This list includes Lewis, Turay, Moore II, Muhammad, Rodgers, and Franklin with Adams, Speed and Glasgow serving primarily as STers.  Banogu has not been good this year, but he also has contributed some to the D.

 

The reason why Ballard has used stop gap FAs at times is because, like you said, he had to deal with a scheme change.  It was also combined with an absolute lack of talent on D leftover from Grigson.  Literally the only really good players on the D Ballard got from Grigs were Mathis (who retired), Adams (who was very old), and Davis (who had a bad groin injury).  Then there were some mediocre/average guys like an injured Henry Anderson,  Erik Walden, Zach Kerr, Hassan Ridgeway, Mathias Farley, Rashaan Melvin, Chris Milton, and Darius Butler.  Otherwise that defense was garbage (Kristjan Sokoli, TY McGill, David Parry, Antonio Morrison, Josh McNary, TJ Green, Duke WIlliams, etc.....).

 

Not only did Grigs leave our D in bad shape, but outside of Luck (who missed Ballard's entire first year), Hilton, Doyle, Kelly, and Castonzo our O was in pretty bad shape as well.  Ballard not only had to rebuild the defense, but essentially the entire offense as well (which became confounded when Luck retired right before Ballard's 3rd season began).

 

Ballard only has a limited number of draft picks per year and he inherited a trainwreck/dumpster fire of a team.  Of course he was going to have to sign stop gap type vets to fill some voids.  Here we are today, four years into Ballard's tenure with the Colts.  We're sitting at 8-4 and would be in the playoffs if they started today.  We have solid contributions from 3 stop gap starters on D (27%) with the remaining 8 starters (73%) being guys Ballard either drafted or acquired via draft pick to be a long term solution.  Our defense is in the top 10 in the entire NFL and is comprised with the vast majority of players being long term solutions which Ballard brought in via the draft.

 

Ballard said since day 1 he was going to build primarily through the draft.  He also said he would be drafting some players who would need coaching to develop them into high quality NFL players.  When Banogu was drafted, he fit that mold exactly.  He's in his 2nd year and recently experienced what was most likely the most bizarre off season in NFL history.  I'm not saying he's a bust quite yet, nor am I saying he is going to turn into a high quality NFL player with a little more time (though he could, it took Stewart ~3-4 years to become a solid interior DL).  That's not the argument here, you are suggesting Ballard has relied primarily on stop gap vet FAs to build the D and it simply is not the case.

 

 

I'm speaking about the quality of our defensive players in terms of draft picks and FA.  We didn't draft Buckner. 

 

 Rhodes or Carrie is our best CB, with Moore our third, neither has a long term deal.  Houston is our best DE, better than all we drafted, and doesn't have a long term deal. Autry is better than Lewis. 

 

And it doesn't matter how many players he inherited or not.  He changed the scheme, so even he got rid of players like Hankins, Simon, and Anderson, some of whom he added himself.  He drafted a 43 DE in Basham, who might be playing on the team now as one of our edges, but waived him.  He drafted Wilson who should have been able to play the same hybrid Man/Zone role as YaSIn  And then there's Hooker, who probably wont earn much of a second contract (and the knee is NO excuse for his poor play, since Blackmon has the same knee but can still contribute when he came back).  

 

I'm simply saying that after 4 years, there are not a lot of draft picked players that you can say are good enough to earn much of a second contract, and those vets who were signed to be here only a couple of years are still better players.

 

Lets hope that we have better success in the draft than what we've had ,or else the D will take a down turn from where it is if/when those vets age too much.

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35 minutes ago, DougDew said:

I'm speaking about the quality of our defensive players in terms of draft picks and FA.  We didn't draft Buckner. 

 

 Rhodes or Carrie is our best CB, with Moore our third, neither has a long term deal.  Houston is our best DE, better than all we drafted, and doesn't have a long term deal. Autry is better than Lewis. 

 

And it doesn't matter how many players he inherited or not.  He changed the scheme, so even he got rid of players like Hankins, Simon, and Anderson, some of whom he added himself.  He drafted a 43 DE in Basham, who might be playing on the team now as one of our edges, but waived him.  He drafted Wilson who should have been able to play the same hybrid Man/Zone role as YaSIn  And then there's Hooker, who probably wont earn much of a second contract (and the knee is NO excuse for his poor play, since Blackmon has the same knee but can still contribute when he came back).  

 

I'm simply saying that after 4 years, there are not a lot of draft picked players that you can say are good enough to earn much of a second contract, and those vets who were signed to be here only a couple of years are still better players.

 

Lets hope that we have better success in the draft than what we've had ,or else the D will take a down turn from where it is if/when those vets age too much.

 

OK, Ballard drafted a 2x all-pro with Leonard and was widely criticized for selecting him in the 2nd round.  He drafted Walker who is a very solid LBer. He drafted Blackmon and Willis who are turning into a formidable safety duo.  Hooker was never a bad or 'poor' player for us, I'm not sure where you're getting that.  His best season, interception-wise was his rookie season... he has battled injuries, sure, but when he was healthy and on the field a large part of why his interception numbers went down was because he wasn't being targeted very often - opposing teams and QBs were not throwing the ball his way.  Maybe Hooker, largely due to injuries/unavailability is a bit of a let down with a first round pick, but he was a solid player --and he was drafted in a year where Ballard was forced to keep Pagano around as head coach and based on interviews it is very clear that Pagano had a lot of influence in the decision to draft Hooker.

 

You do realize that there are 53 players on a football team, correct?  And typically, a team only has 7 draft picks per year?  Since Ballard took over, the only players left on the team are AC, Kelly, Doyle, TY, and LeRaven Clark.  In 4 years, Ballard has had to replace 48 players on the 53 man roster.   In 4 drafts, Ballard would typically have 28 picks.. by making mostly smart trades he has had the opportunity to draft 38 players and acquire Buckner (still 9 shy of the 48 who he replaced either due to lack of scheme fit, retirement, or quality of the player).  In addition to those 39 players, Ballard has added Rigoberto Sanchez, Rodrigo Blankenship, Ashton Dulin, DeMichael Harris and George Odum as UDFAs who are currently on our roster.  Now we're up to 44 players who Ballard added through draft, UDFA (from his scouts, not from another team's cuts as in the case of Kenny Moore II), and Buckner (by trading a draft pick).  Now that we've done this math, you probably realize that of the 5 guys who are still here from when Ballard took over, plus the 44 guys Ballard has brought on who are related to the draft, we would still be 4 shy of manning a complete roster.  Of course, not every pick Ballard has made has turned into gold for us and some of those guys who were drafted were cut at some point (or are opting out in the case of Marvell Tell who seemed to be developing quite nicely as a CB for us).  There is not a single GM in the league who is perfect with their draft picks.  Even if Ballard defied all odds and was perfect with every pick, he would still be 4 players shy of fielding a complete team... meaning, he has had to sign free agents.

 

Why is Houston not on a long term deal?  Maybe because he is 31 years old and 31 year old defensive ends don't get long term deals in the NFL.  Houston has had a borderline HOF career.  Rushing the passer is a huge must in the NFL.  Ballard gave him a short-term deal because of his age and because he filled an immediate need, and Turay was drafted the year before knowing he was a work in progress -- unfortunately, injury has set Turay back but Houston is a very professional and very productive veteran and a perfect guy for someone like Turay (and Lewis for that matter) to learn from.

 

Why aren't Rhodes and Carrie on long term deals?  For one, Rhodes had a pretty bad season last year so this was basically a prove it contract.  For 2, both of them are 30 years old and 30 year old CBs don't get long term deals in the NFL.  They are both playing well and I'm sure Ya Sin and our younger CBs are learning something from them.  CB was a position of need after last season, and so was WR, QB, OL depth, STs, DL depth, RB depth, etc.... Ballard addressed all those other needs in the draft (or via trading for Buckner) and he decided to go WR and RB early in the draft, meaning it'd be unlikely a rookie CB would come in and start right away -- therefore, he went out and got Rhodes and Carrie to fill a gap for a short while and I'm sure at some  point in the near future CB will be addressed in the draft.

 

Autry is playing well this year, but he's certainly had his ups and downs since being in Indy.  He's also 30, so it's unlikely he'll get a long term deal.  He was signed for a reasonable deal to a 3 year contract to fill an immediate need on the team.  Is he better than Lewis right now? Yes... have some guys Ballard drafted like Lewis, Stewart, Turay, potentially Banogu, been able to develop as DL since being drafted and more likely than not benefitted from Autry being here to help teach them and to allow them to ease their way into the NFL? Yes.

 

Of Ballard's 38 draft picks in the past 4 years, every single player is on an NFL roster or practice squad right now.  That is a 100% retainment level of draft picks in the NFL over 4 years, and it is incredible.  Others who are widely considered the best GMs in the NFL who have been GMs for the same team since 2017 (so Eric DeCosta from Baltimore is excluded) include Brett Veach (KC), John Lynch (SF), Belichick (NE), Jon Robinson (Titans), Mickey Loomis (Saints) -- Veach has 22 of 24 players he drafted since 2017 still somewhere in NFL, Belichick has 30/33, Lynch has 31/33, Loomis has 21/23, Robinson has 20/25.  None of those guys have over a 95% success rate on their drafts over the past 4 years and all of them have drafted less players than Ballard.  I assume as you go further through the list of GMs there are none who have every single player they've drafted in the last 4 years still remaining in the NFL.

 

Long story short, Ballard has done very well in the draft.  He's also done very well in FA by not overpaying guys or signing unreasonable deals (like Grigs often did).  We have 3 starters on D who are on short-term deals as 'stop gap FA' types, Autry, Rhodes and Houston.  We have 1, Buckner, who was acquired via trading a draft pick and signed to a long term deal (he happens to be the only one out of the non-drafted guys who is under 30, btw).  Then we have 7 starters on D who were brought in by Ballard through the draft.  Leonard is going to get a big extension, Stewart just got his extension, if healthy Blackmon will get an extension, and I'd venture to say so will Walker and Willis.  I think they'll need to develop a bit more (and stay healthy) but it wouldn't shock me at all if Ya Sin and Oke get their rookie deals extended as well.... then we've got some young guys like Lewis, Turay, Speed, Franklin, Tell, 

 

 Not sure why you're upset that he waived Basham, the dude has 4 sacks in 4 years.  He's all right with NYJ but wasn't producing the way Ballard wanted so he improved the position.  Wilson showed spurts here and there, especially when Mike Mitchell was helping mentor him, but it is pretty obvious he doesn't have all the mental strength needed to make his physical skills allow him to be a stud CB in the NFL.  Oh well... Ballard's still doing a lot better than most GMs and for you to think he could build a team basically from scratch without signing some short term, stop gap type players is nonsensical.  Ballard's done a good job of managing the cap and keeping us in position to be able to develop homegrown talent and retain them when it comes time... a lot better than a lot of GMs who overspend on vets or give contracts out which last longer than the player himself lasts playing at a high level.

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30 minutes ago, CurBeatElite said:

 

OK, Ballard drafted a 2x all-pro with Leonard and was widely criticized for selecting him in the 2nd round.  He drafted Walker who is a very solid LBer. He drafted Blackmon and Willis who are turning into a formidable safety duo.  Hooker was never a bad or 'poor' player for us, I'm not sure where you're getting that.  His best season, interception-wise was his rookie season... he has battled injuries, sure, but when he was healthy and on the field a large part of why his interception numbers went down was because he wasn't being targeted very often - opposing teams and QBs were not throwing the ball his way.  Maybe Hooker, largely due to injuries/unavailability is a bit of a let down with a first round pick, but he was a solid player --and he was drafted in a year where Ballard was forced to keep Pagano around as head coach and based on interviews it is very clear that Pagano had a lot of influence in the decision to draft Hooker.

 

You do realize that there are 53 players on a football team, correct?  And typically, a team only has 7 draft picks per year?  Since Ballard took over, the only players left on the team are AC, Kelly, Doyle, TY, and LeRaven Clark.  In 4 years, Ballard has had to replace 48 players on the 53 man roster.   In 4 drafts, Ballard would typically have 28 picks.. by making mostly smart trades he has had the opportunity to draft 38 players and acquire Buckner (still 9 shy of the 48 who he replaced either due to lack of scheme fit, retirement, or quality of the player).  In addition to those 39 players, Ballard has added Rigoberto Sanchez, Rodrigo Blankenship, Ashton Dulin, DeMichael Harris and George Odum as UDFAs who are currently on our roster.  Now we're up to 44 players who Ballard added through draft, UDFA (from his scouts, not from another team's cuts as in the case of Kenny Moore II), and Buckner (by trading a draft pick).  Now that we've done this math, you probably realize that of the 5 guys who are still here from when Ballard took over, plus the 44 guys Ballard has brought on who are related to the draft, we would still be 4 shy of manning a complete roster.  Of course, not every pick Ballard has made has turned into gold for us and some of those guys who were drafted were cut at some point (or are opting out in the case of Marvell Tell who seemed to be developing quite nicely as a CB for us).  There is not a single GM in the league who is perfect with their draft picks.  Even if Ballard defied all odds and was perfect with every pick, he would still be 4 players shy of fielding a complete team... meaning, he has had to sign free agents.

 

Why is Houston not on a long term deal?  Maybe because he is 31 years old and 31 year old defensive ends don't get long term deals in the NFL.  Houston has had a borderline HOF career.  Rushing the passer is a huge must in the NFL.  Ballard gave him a short-term deal because of his age and because he filled an immediate need, and Turay was drafted the year before knowing he was a work in progress -- unfortunately, injury has set Turay back but Houston is a very professional and very productive veteran and a perfect guy for someone like Turay (and Lewis for that matter) to learn from.

 

Why aren't Rhodes and Carrie on long term deals?  For one, Rhodes had a pretty bad season last year so this was basically a prove it contract.  For 2, both of them are 30 years old and 30 year old CBs don't get long term deals in the NFL.  They are both playing well and I'm sure Ya Sin and our younger CBs are learning something from them.  CB was a position of need after last season, and so was WR, QB, OL depth, STs, DL depth, RB depth, etc.... Ballard addressed all those other needs in the draft (or via trading for Buckner) and he decided to go WR and RB early in the draft, meaning it'd be unlikely a rookie CB would come in and start right away -- therefore, he went out and got Rhodes and Carrie to fill a gap for a short while and I'm sure at some  point in the near future CB will be addressed in the draft.

 

Autry is playing well this year, but he's certainly had his ups and downs since being in Indy.  He's also 30, so it's unlikely he'll get a long term deal.  He was signed for a reasonable deal to a 3 year contract to fill an immediate need on the team.  Is he better than Lewis right now? Yes... have some guys Ballard drafted like Lewis, Stewart, Turay, potentially Banogu, been able to develop as DL since being drafted and more likely than not benefitted from Autry being here to help teach them and to allow them to ease their way into the NFL? Yes.

 

Of Ballard's 38 draft picks in the past 4 years, every single player is on an NFL roster or practice squad right now.  That is a 100% retainment level of draft picks in the NFL over 4 years, and it is incredible.  Others who are widely considered the best GMs in the NFL who have been GMs for the same team since 2017 (so Eric DeCosta from Baltimore is excluded) include Brett Veach (KC), John Lynch (SF), Belichick (NE), Jon Robinson (Titans), Mickey Loomis (Saints) -- Veach has 22 of 24 players he drafted since 2017 still somewhere in NFL, Belichick has 30/33, Lynch has 31/33, Loomis has 21/23, Robinson has 20/25.  None of those guys have over a 95% success rate on their drafts over the past 4 years and all of them have drafted less players than Ballard.  I assume as you go further through the list of GMs there are none who have every single player they've drafted in the last 4 years still remaining in the NFL.

 

Long story short, Ballard has done very well in the draft.  He's also done very well in FA by not overpaying guys or signing unreasonable deals (like Grigs often did).  We have 3 starters on D who are on short-term deals as 'stop gap FA' types, Autry, Rhodes and Houston.  We have 1, Buckner, who was acquired via trading a draft pick and signed to a long term deal (he happens to be the only one out of the non-drafted guys who is under 30, btw).  Then we have 7 starters on D who were brought in by Ballard through the draft.  Leonard is going to get a big extension, Stewart just got his extension, if healthy Blackmon will get an extension, and I'd venture to say so will Walker and Willis.  I think they'll need to develop a bit more (and stay healthy) but it wouldn't shock me at all if Ya Sin and Oke get their rookie deals extended as well.... then we've got some young guys like Lewis, Turay, Speed, Franklin, Tell, 

 

 Not sure why you're upset that he waived Basham, the dude has 4 sacks in 4 years.  He's all right with NYJ but wasn't producing the way Ballard wanted so he improved the position.  Wilson showed spurts here and there, especially when Mike Mitchell was helping mentor him, but it is pretty obvious he doesn't have all the mental strength needed to make his physical skills allow him to be a stud CB in the NFL.  Oh well... Ballard's still doing a lot better than most GMs and for you to think he could build a team basically from scratch without signing some short term, stop gap type players is nonsensical.  Ballard's done a good job of managing the cap and keeping us in position to be able to develop homegrown talent and retain them when it comes time... a lot better than a lot of GMs who overspend on vets or give contracts out which last longer than the player himself lasts playing at a high level.

Curt, you're taking this down the path of an owner trying to evaluate his GMs decision making and performance.  I agree with you about a lot of that, but that's not where this was headed as far as I'm concerned..

 

I'm simply saying that the pattern that GMS do here, is to sign experienced vets to play immediately and put a decent product on the field during which he drafts their replacements to develop.  They all do it. Only first round picks and maybe high seconds can contribute immediately.  So yes, those vets are stop gaps.  Autry, Houston, Rhodes, etc are designed to play well, but only for a couple of years until their replacements are far enough along to play at a level equal to them.  Sure, some of those vets can age well and earn a second short contract, but that's not the intent when originally signed.  

 

That's why we are wanting Ben and Turay to replace Houston and fill the other side pass rush, and we want Lewis to take over Autry's hybrid DE/3T role.  And for someone to step up and take Rhodes place.  Those guys won't last forever and we need at least three of our recent picks to elevate their game to where they are at least as good as what those vets are now

 

Does Ben, Turay, Lewis, and RYS seem to be at that point yet?  I'll go a step further, have any of them shown for sure that they can even stay in the NFL?  Who are the other players they are competing with for playing time, UDFAs?  How did the defense look when Buckner and Autry were out?

 

Compare that to some other picks.  We saw that Leonard belongs in the NFL, at what level is yet to be fleshed out, from about 4 weeks into his career.  Blackmon is probably there too. 

 

Has any other defensive draft pick in the past 4 years shown that they belong in the NFL, to the extent that another mid round pick rookie couldn't replace them?  Please don't talk about the ex-Colt players playing for the Jets.  They're 0-12.  Grover? Walker?  Sure, but those are both run playing 2 down defensive players, probably the two easiest players to poach from other teams or even in the draft.  Every team has two down run players.  They are a dime a dozen.  Big deal.

 

I'm just talking about the state of the defensive roster in the context of Ben and where he is supposed to be by now.  Evaluating Ballard's decision making is another step and one that should look at a bunch of other factors.  Do that if you want, I'm merely looking at who is playing now, and who will likely be here next season and kind of wondering if we will be taking a step forward or not.

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16 hours ago, GoColts8818 said:

One of the guys who covers the Colts said last weekend Ben’s problem is that he’s not good at special teams and in order to dress him they would have to take someone who is good at special teams out and have Ben play special teams.  So just some context.  It could be a motor issue as some have suggested or it could be the Colts are so deep on the line they can afford to not dress a guy for special teams needs.  

 

Makes sense, and adds another angle to the situation.

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On 12/9/2020 at 11:30 AM, Myles said:

i think he's a one of Ballards rare misses.  Maybe he'll come around though.  Too many unknowns.  

U call it rare I call it consistent on Ballards part. Doug Dew was right. Look at his picks on D. His best players r by a trade

 

6 hours ago, DougDew said:

Curt, you're taking this down the path of an owner trying to evaluate his GMs decision making and performance.  I agree with you about a lot of that, but that's not where this was headed as far as I'm concerned..

 

I'm simply saying that the pattern that GMS do here, is to sign experienced vets to play immediately and put a decent product on the field during which he drafts their replacements to develop.  They all do it. Only first round picks and maybe high seconds can contribute immediately.  So yes, those vets are stop gaps.  Autry, Houston, Rhodes, etc are designed to play well, but only for a couple of years until their replacements are far enough along to play at a level equal to them.  Sure, some of those vets can age well and earn a second short contract, but that's not the intent when originally signed.  

 

That's why we are wanting Ben and Turay to replace Houston and fill the other side pass rush, and we want Lewis to take over Autry's hybrid DE/3T role.  And for someone to step up and take Rhodes place.  Those guys won't last forever and we need at least three of our recent picks to elevate their game to where they are at least as good as what those vets are now

 

Does Ben, Turay, Lewis, and RYS seem to be at that point yet?  I'll go a step further, have any of them shown for sure that they can even stay in the NFL?  Who are the other players they are competing with for playing time, UDFAs?  How did the defense look when Buckner and Autry were out?

 

Compare that to some other picks.  We saw that Leonard belongs in the NFL, at what level is yet to be fleshed out, from about 4 weeks into his career.  Blackmon is probably there too. 

 

Has any other defensive draft pick in the past 4 years shown that they belong in the NFL, to the extent that another mid round pick rookie couldn't replace them?  Please don't talk about the ex-Colt players playing for the Jets.  They're 0-12.  Grover? Walker?  Sure, but those are both run playing 2 down defensive players, probably the two easiest players to poach from other teams or even in the draft.  Every team has two down run players.  They are a dime a dozen.  Big deal.

 

I'm just talking about the state of the defensive roster in the context of Ben and where he is supposed to be by now.  Evaluating Ballard's decision making is another step and one that should look at a bunch of other factors.  Do that if you want, I'm merely looking at who is playing now, and who will likely be here next season and kind of wondering if we will be taking a step forward or 

U get crusiiifed if u dare critisize Ballard. Where is the receiver talent?  Pittman is a #2 and doesnt wow me. Where is the secondary talent? Rock looks average and Moore is the best db and he was a free agent. We have a lot of aging but effective defensive players. Turay is over rated. Lewis is Meh and Banagou is looking like a bust. That is 3 2nd rounders down the toilet. How has Leonard looked as of late when playing balanced offences? He is great when an offense is one sided. This defence is not that good and I have been saying it all year.  I do not see a young and up and coming defense. I see an aging defense that ha not many young players ready to take over. The D line for the future has me very worried. We r 8 and 4 because of our free agent acquisitions and not the drafting of Ballard

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1 hour ago, Moosejawcolt said:

U get crusiiifed if u dare critisize Ballard. Where is the receiver talent?  Pittman is a #2 and doesnt wow me. Where is the secondary talent? Rock looks average and Moore is the best db and he was a free agent. We have a lot of aging but effective defensive players. Turay is over rated. Lewis is Meh and Banagou is looking like a bust. That is 3 2nd rounders down the toilet. How has Leonard looked as of late when playing balanced offences? He is great when an offense is one sided. This defence is not that good and I have been saying it all year.  I do not see a young and up and coming defense. I see an aging defense that ha not many young players ready to take over. The D line for the future has me very worried. We r 8 and 4 because of our free agent acquisitions and not the drafting of Ballard

I think you're being ultra hard on Pittman. He's playing well, very well for rook X, and very well for a rook X that has dealt with an injury. Xs generally take a little longer. I'd also say that Xs, while generally more of a #2 type WR, are critical to any team. We've been without a legit X for a while. Pascal has done well, but he's got a ceiling, and is more tweener than true X. 

 

You also can'* on Ballard for WR in general too much. His Campbell pick was a solid pick (he was graded a top 3 WR that year), and he didn't have an injury history before he got here. The last two years, Ballard has tried very hard (Funch, Campbell, Pittman) in terms of draft capital and $. The Fountain/Cain/Patmon were solid late round dice rolls as well. Cain IMO was used wrong. Fountain's development was stunted by a major injury. We still don't know what we have with Patmon, but he had good production in college, and good measurables. 

 

Biggest factor early in Ballard's days, is we just had so many holes to fill, and WR wasn't top the list. 

 

I do agree Banogu was a reach, and Ballard's choices of DEs are probably his weakest in terms of position. Too early though to say that Turay is overrated. He was highly rated late last year before the injury. Lewis is a tweener, and you need depth guys like that. Autry though has been solid, and the Houston pick up was extremely solid. 

 

In short, I think you're overeating in a lot of areas. Through the draft and FA, he's built strong lines on both sides, Sure we have questions at DE and LT the next couple years, but all teams have questions every year. To assume he won't solve for those issues is overeating at this point. We have 2 of 4 (the interior) DLs locked up, and it's likely we'll have at least one of the DEs back. 

 

And I agree, out D isn't really top 5, but they are still top 10ish, and very good. Much better than in the past. And aside from a few players, are well rounded in terms of age.  And I also agree folks overeat when Ballard is criticized (he's not perfect), but I do think you're also being a little too "sky is falling". Ballard definitely isn't the golden god folks make him out to be, but he has been very good so far.

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