Vick Ballard is good, but is he Franchise RB good?
The quest for the Indianapolis Colts to find a new Franchise running back has so far led to Vick Ballard, but can Ballard carry the moniker of Franchise back? The Colts haven’t had a truly Franchise running back since Edgerrin James and the recent replacements for The Edge in Joseph Addai and Donald Brown. Brown is still on the team, but he is just a holdover from a roster the current Colt front office could see without. However Ballard is an interesting prospect to be the Colts next Franchise running back, because he wasn’t drafted to fill such a role. Ballard drafted in the 5th round and that type of position points toward Ballard being nothing, but a stop-gap until they bring in a true Franchise back.
However to give Ballard some credit, he could have had over a 1,000 yards this season if he had started sooner. He’s average yards per carry at 4.1 are decent numbers for a running back, but are they Franchise type numbers? No. I would hate to compare Ballard to Joseph Addai, but I would compare him to Addai only in the sense that they both have skill sets that above average. You need Ballards and Addais on your team, but the Colts should seriously consider signing a running back with a skill set that could take the already explosive offense under Andrew Luck to another level.
Drafting a running back of that caliber in the 2013 draft seems out of reach for the Colts and I wouldn’t take a low 1st rounder on a running back that has always been a notoriously bad draft position for backs. However there are two running backs the Colts should consider pursuing in the offseason. The first is Reggie Bush. Bush will hit the market in 2013 and although he has made a negative name for himself with the New Orleans Saints with injuries. Bush’s resume with the Miami Dolphins proves he can be a Franchise back.
The new dimension Bush would give the Colts is in the passing game. Bush is a very dangerous pass catcher out of the backfield and that is an area the running backs on the team haven’t excelled at. The second running back the Colts should consider is if Chris Johnson is released from the Tennessee Titans. Now I know the Johnson has had some issues recently, but the Colts offensive line would be the perfect fit for Johnson. Johnson can catch out of the backfield as well, but his overall explosiveness is still there. If the Colts had a home run hitter in the backfield, it takes pressure off Andrew Luck, takes pressure off the wide receivers and can make the Colts one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
Ballard does not possess that type of home run hitter quality, but that doesn’t mean he won’t a role on the team. He’ll be playing second fiddle to whoever the Franchise back is, but a quality backup is always important. Vick Ballard is a great stopgap, but he isn’t a franchise. Hopefully the Colts can find a back that can give this offense another layer to be the icing on the cake. The Colts have their Franchise quarterback, but now they have to find their Franchise running back.
James Cobern is a Featured Journalist for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.