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The Colts run ended as quickly as it started yesterday. The Chiefs got out to an early lead and the Colts were never able to answer the call even as the defense stepped up in the 2nd half, a similar problem the Texans had a week ago against the Colts. Many Colts fans are left disappointed after seeing a possible path to a Super Bowl, but as we wake up this morning the future is brighter in Indianapolis than just about any other team.
First, the Colts are YOUNG. Andrew Luck is one of the veterans on the roster at 29 years old. We have seen Manning, Brady, and Brees all put up some of their best seasons at 37-38 years old. Considering that we can probably bank on another five prime years for Luck and possibly nine more. Andrew Luck is enough to make the Colts contenders every year, but the Colts have so much more. Marlon Mack is 22 years old. Quenten Nelson and Braden Smith two rising stars on the offensive line are both rookies. Ryan Kelley is just 25. The Colts line and run game are not going anywhere any time soon. Darius Leonard, Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers, Matthias Fairley, and Kenny Moore all under 26 years old. These are the building blocks of the future on defense.
Photo Credit: Clutch Points
The Colts do have some holes on the roster and a (very) few veterans but have plenty of ways to fill these holes. Draft Capital is the second reason every Colts fan should be thrilled. Remember the last draft when the Colts traded down to draft All-Pro Quentin Nelson, well the Colts also picked up a 2nd round pick from the Jets for this year as well as the pick to draft Braden Smith. Let’s just say Chris Ballard turning the number three pick into Nelson and Smith, two players that solidified the best line in football, alone is great… AND HE STILL HAS ANOTHER PICK FROM THAT TRADE. That will be three picks in the first two rounds and Ballard has already shown he can be a master at the draft, adding not only Nelson and Smith but Darius Leonard too. Leonard and Nelson were both All-Pro has rookies and have two of the brightest futures in the NFL. The Colts need to fill holes at cornerback, while Moore has developed into a solid slot CB, Indianapolis struggles to cover outside. Wide Reciever will also be a focus as TY approaches 30 and seems to be getting more banged up every year.
If all those draft picks aren’t enough, the Colts still have approx. 123 MILLION DOLLARS. You read that right 123 MILLION for Free Agents. This has been my biggest knock on Ballard so far as NFL Free Agency with non-guaranteed contracts is a low to no risk high reward as explained in this article about why the Colts should sign Bell. In the past, I think Ballard has been too scared of Grigson, but even with Grigson’s horrible eye for talent, the Colts were never in a bad financial situation. Ballard has an AMAZING eye for talent drafting studs such as Marlon Mack and Tyquan Lewis, while signing Kenny Moore, none of which was highly regarded. If Ballard wants to take this team from good to great he has every dollar to do so. If someone is slightly paid or you miss a few no big deal, your hitting in the draft and we can cut them after a year or two with no cost. Some weapons outside, some cornerbacks, and maybe one more linebacker (sorry Anthony Walker, but need a slight upgrade).
If Ballard decides he wants it to, the AFC will run through Indianapolis for the next decade with one of the games best under center, a young nucleus, tons of cap, and a GM that seems to have an eye for good football players. It was a rough day yesterday Colts fans, but every day to come will be brighter.