Featured Photo Credit: IndyStar
Photo Credit: Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts
The past, the present, and the future. Chris Ballard and John Dorsey have been linked in many ways, and now seem on their way to building two of the best franchises in the AFC. The front office version of Manning vs Brady is about to arrive.
One thing has become clear over the past year: Chris Ballard and John Dorsey are two of the best GM’s in the league despite using very different strategies. From 2013-2016 these two men were together working in Kansas City. They helped set up the Chiefs team you saw last year (Mahomes would’ve been scouted by their scouting department and those notes used to draft him). Now the Chiefs are in limbo with the Colts and Browns both quickly rising in the AFC.
In 2010 Ballard and Dorsey both found themselves as the scouting directors for the two NFC Championship teams (Ballard with Chicago and Dorsey with the Packers). While neither had reached the heights each eventually would, this was the clear start of two great careers that just two years later would make up one of the best front office staffs in the NFL.
Dorsey was the GM at the time and Ballard worked from Director of Player Personnel to President of Football Operations. When both of them took the job in 2013, the Chiefs were coming off a 2-14 season. They quickly turned it around. Trading for Alex Smith, bringing in Andy Reid and drafting Travis Kelce in the third round. The Chiefs would turn into a consistent contender making the playoffs 3/4 years and never having a losing record.
Ballard and Dorsey drafted Travis Kelce, Dee Ford, Marcus Peters, Chris Jones, Tyreek Hill, and had a big hand in helping the team land Patrick Mahomes and Kareem Hunt. Mahomes who was drafted in the draft after Ballard left, still would’ve been scouted while Ballard was there, and he went personally to scout Mahomes. Dorsey was the one who made the moves up to pick Mahomes. Veach and Reid also played a part, but Ballard and Dorsey had 5 years of great drafts that put the Chiefs in position.
It was not just the draft however; Free Agency was a big part of the game. This is where Dorsey and Ballard shift a little. Ballard is great at finding the steal signing, while Dorsey is not afraid to target the big names. Together it made a deadly combo.
This led to the Chiefs making the playoffs as many times in 4 years as they did in the previous 15 years before Ballard and Dorsey arrived. Ballard left to finally get his own GM job which was well deserved, and Dorsey had a split later that same offseason. The Colts and Browns were far from complete teams, combining for just a 4 wins (all from the Colts) during their first year; now both are playoff favorites and popular sleeper picks to go to the Superbowl.
Chris Ballard drafted two All-Pros (Quinten Nelson and Darius Leonard) in his first draft with his own scouts; as well as Braden Smith who helped Nelson
turn the Colts offensive line from the worst in the league to the best, and running behind that line is three Ballard drafted HBs including Marlon Mack who ran for 908 yards in 10 games started. Now Kiper and others say the Colts have won the draft for the second straight year, having 4 picks on day 2 and adding another 2nd round pick next year. Ballard also has brought in veteran pass-rusher Justin Houston and more weapons for Andrew Luck.
If Chris Ballard had the best draft a year ago, John Dorsey had the second best. Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, and Nick Chubb. They also added Javis Landry, Damarious Randall (underrated), Greg Robinson, Sheldon Richardson, Kareem Hunt, and ODELL BECKHAM. Dorsey took an 0-16 team and now has Browns fans thinking a Super Bowl is possible, while that is a stretch, this is definitely a strong playoff team and has the making to be something more down the road.
Ballard and Dorsey should be GMing for a long time, and at this rate Browns and Colts fans might want to prepare for a lot of playoff duels. Tom Brady is still around, and both teams are incomplete, but the more time passes, the more these two men will dominate the NFL.
The Chiefs made a mistake, the NFL is learning that. The Colts and the Browns are just getting started. Training Camp 2019 will be the first of many meeting between these two up and coming teams.