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Inside the Draft Process with Chris Ballard


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Thought you guys might like this:



INDIANAPOLIS — I get asked all the time what it’s like to be the general manager of the Colts throughout the draft process, and what it’s like inside the room on draft night. The journey is a grind. It can be exhausting at times. But the hard work and dedication only confirms our confidence in the players we select during the draft.

No two teams in the NFL draft alike. No two teams scout the same way, or use exact traits and characteristics when they look for players. Working for three organizations—Chicago, Kansas City and Indianapolis—and working as an area scout, a pro scouting director, a player personnel director and a director of football operations before taking the GM job here, I’ve seen how all 32 teams evaluate and draft. In two decades in the scouting business, I’ve seen how mentors like former Bears GM Jerry Angelo did it, how my Chiefs bosses Andy Reid and John Dorsey do it, and how other friends and competitors at other teams do it.

You might be surprised in our process that there’s a former Green Beret involved; his unique interviewing techniques help us strip away the agent-speak and happy talk that surround so many players in the draft process. You might be surprised that we’ve borrowed something from the brain trust at Pixar called “The Room of Candor,” so honesty is the only policy in the draft discussions.

I never want to look back at any decision we’ve made and think we didn’t have the real, unvarnished facts on the table when we’ve made these important choices.



It’s obviously not possible to know for sure if we’ve had a good draft yet. But we do feel 100 percent confident in a player once they’ve made our board. We’re not always right, but when we put in the work, the many man-hours challenging each other in the draft room, getting to the heart of ‘who is this player?’ and a million other questions, combined with the tape and the analysis and getting opinions from the coaches, we can feel validated.

At the end of the day, the players have to earn their place on the team and we as an organization have a responsibility to develop the player. Once they’re with us, we feel we have everything in place to get them to their ceiling as long we’ve got the football character right. Why? Because players who have football character want to get better and can overcome adversity. They never let the ups and downs of this tough league get in the way of their improvements each and every day.


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His openness and transparency are a breath of fresh air. The Indy media can’t fall over themselves fast enough to point out every single time he says something that “you can look back 5–6 months down the road to what he said and realize he told us this is what is happening” and it does. 

Polian had the entire staff on lock down, only trusting a few “select” reporters to leak stuff to the public when he was good and ready to. Those reporters took Irsay to the woodshed when Polian was fired because they lost their advantage over everyone else.

Grigson was a richard. As a whole the feeling was similar to Polian in that things didn’t leak out. Like clockwork, a deadline would pass and the news would come out 5 hours later. The Colts signed 5 players on the first day of free agency one year and the signings were broken by agents or the media but the Colts didn’t make anything official until the next day. 

I haven’t read the whole article yet, but I’ve seen snippets here and there on Twitter and what you’ve posted and it seems like he is breaking more boundaries of what kind of things you can expect from a GM of a pro sports organization. Unbelievable. 

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57 minutes ago, tom cody said:

Thanks for this. Ballard has become one of the best GM's in the league. I really like the job he is doing with the team. 

Ballard has done an amazing job in the time he's been here. He was brought in to rebuild us and he's progressed so much since being here.

Of course, taking over the GM duties from Grigson probably shows him in a much better light, but he really has made us that much better. 

Hope he stays around for the long term. 

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