With the 45th President of the United States in office, all eyes are on his first 100 days in office. The first 100 days are often times used to measure the success and accomplishments of a President during the time that their power and influence is the greatest. I see a striking similarity between the first 100 days for the President of the United States of America, and an NFL team’s General Manager position. Both positions set the tone for the future, deliver opportunities for success, and are highly criticized by the media and general public.
Colts GM Chris Ballard was hired on January 29, and his first 100 days will create the atmosphere for the Colts franchise for years to come. He has already won his first battle, with winning over the city and media with his experience, down to earth personality, and competitiveness. Now, Ballard must win two more battles to ensure the Colts return to greatness.
Within the first 100 days for Ballard he will encounter both NFL Free Agency and the NFL Draft. Both will be crucial for him to immediately showcase why he is the man for the job. Both events will be crucial in determining the fate of the Colts franchise over the next few years. Failing to deliver will have Colts fans chomping at the bit for more changes.
So, with Ballard needing to make a splash during his first 100 days on the job, here are the moves I would recommend to Ballard to return the Colts to championship form.
Strengthen the offensive line.
The Dallas Cowboys have created the blueprint for success when it comes to the offensive line, but the Colts don’t have the time to build their line through the draft. A critical first move for Ballard would be to sign a top offensive lineman in free agency. There are several young offensive lineman setup to be free agents in 2017 including: Ron Leary, Matt Kalil, and T.J. Lang.
Pass protection is key, as we saw in Super Bowl LI this past Sunday. When Brady saw pressure in the first half he struggled, and when Matt Ryan saw pressure in the second half he struggled. Protecting Andrew Luck should be the Colts number one priority in 2017.
Find a pass rusher.
In 2016 the Colts had zero consistency in passing the rusher, and things won’t improve in 2017 with the retirement of Robert Mathis. I feel that the 2017 NFL Draft is loaded with edge rushers and Defensive Ends, and one of them will most likely find their way to the Colts. This has been a need for the Colts over the past several years, and is a bigger need in 2017 with the retirement of Robert Mathis. The Colts will also see Erik Walden and Trent Cole become free agents, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all if the Colts let Cole walk. In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Colts could be targeting pass rushers such as: Takkarist McKinley (UCLA), Derek Barnett (Tennessee), or Solomon Thomas (Stanford).
Complete the defense.
Not only is there a major need for a pass rusher, but there is also a major need to bolster up the entire defense. The Colts ranked 30th in total defense in 2016, and without major additions, things don’t look to improve. Moves I foresee as improving the defense include: acquiring a top not Defensive Coordinator. Chuck Pagano has proven that he cannot build this defense, so let him focusing on being head coach. I would try and acquire someone like Rex Ryan.
The Colts also need to address their secondary. A big question for the Colts this off season is what they will do at this position. Both Darius Butler and Mike Adams are set to be free agents. Both of them play a big role within the Colts defense. The only role that I see as set for 2017 is Vontae Davis, with the other cornerback and safety roles up in the air. The Falcons have proved that young defensive players can make an immediate impact on a successful team, it is up to Ballard to find the right ones.
I would imagine that the 2017 NFL Draft is going to look a lot different this year. I wouldn’t anticipate on seeing Ballard drafting offensive weapons for Andrew Luck, but rather focusing on pass rushers and pass defenders. The first 100 days for Chris Ballard are here, and he has two great opportunities to steer the Colts franchise back to glory. This is his time to showcase his ability and influence, and all eyes are on him. The first 100 days for Ballard will determine the fate of the Colts for years to come.
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