Most people didn’t think too much of the Indianapolis Colts selection in the fifth round of last year’s draft, at the time. It was the 170th overall selection and they went with a relatively unheard of player out of Mississippi State, Vick Ballard. Little did they know, they may have stumbled on to the team’s running back of the future.
While Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris stole the show for rookie combos in 2012, Andrew Luck and Ballard made quite the rookie duo. Luck of course got most of the credit, as quarterbacks often do, but Ballard deserves recognition for his play. He began the year splitting time with Donald Brown, but by the end of the season, the starting job was no doubt Ballard’s. Injuries contributed to this, but he was clearly the better back.
In total he rushed for 814 yards, and just under four yards per carry. He did fail to make it into the end zone on a regular basis (2), but that should change now, with his likely increase in carries. Ballard is now the man in the Indianapolis backfield, and it’s crucial that he takes the next step for his team in 2013. Luck figures to only get better with age, and that growth can be even greater, if Ballard takes those steps along with him. The more effective Ballard can be, the better Luck will be.
Fans should be very excited about the team’s young duo. Ballard and Luck could be the backbone of the franchise for at least another five years, if Ballard pans out. He’s still unproven, though, in that he hasn’t had to carry the load for an entire season yet. Until we see that he can get it done Sunday, after Sunday, we’ll have to hold off on calling Ballard a top-notch NFL running back.
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