Chris Ballard leads candidates for Colts’ GM opening

When the Colts fired general manager Ryan Grigson last week, it seemed almost immediately as if the person to replace him would be .

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Six days later, that isn’t so certain.

NFL Network’s reported Friday that it’s Chris Ballard of the Chiefs at the head of the pack, not Raye, near the latter stages of the first round of interviews. Currently serving as the director of player personnel in Kansas City, Ballard interviewed with the Colts on Wednesday. It’s not certain that there will be a second round of interviews, but the process is expected to last about another week, Garafolo added.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that the Colts will bring in Ballard for a second interview on Monday, per a team source.

Ballard was hired by the Chiefs in May 2013, bringing 12 years of experience gained working for of the Chicago Bears as part of a scouting department whose work led to the selections of Matt Forte, Charles Tillman and Tommie Harris, among others. Ballard joined the Chiefs just months after the franchise hired head coach and general manager , a regime that has produced 44 wins and three playoff appearances in the four years since.

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“All three of these quarterbacks, to me, I would be scared to death in the top 10,” Mayock told The College Draft podcast.

The certainly have a need at the position, and hold the No. 1 overall pick, as well as the No. 12 pick. If NFL clubs see the quarterback field as Mayock does, the Browns could potentially address a different position with the No. 1 pick and still have their pick of any quarterback at No. 12. Other clubs with a top 10-pick and a quarterback need include the , and New York Jets.

Mayock addressed concerns on each of Watson, Trubisky and Kizer. Whether Watson has the ability to maintain accuracy when his first read is not open, particularly while remaining in the pocket, is among the questions NFL clubs will want answered about him, per Mayock. As for Trubisky, who was a backup at UNC to for two seasons prior to 2016, a lack of college experience for a one-year starter is a top concern.

“If (Trubisky is) so talented and gifted, and a top-10-type pick, one of the first questions a lot of teams are asking is, why couldn’t he beat out Marquise Williams the last couple years at North Carolina? What’s the answer to that one?,” Mayock said.

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Nike Bears #95 Richard Dent Navy Blue Throwback Men's Stitched NFL Elite JerseyMayock believes Kizer has the highest ceiling of the three, but his play at critical times for the Fighting Irish wasn’t impressive.

“The problem I have is that (Kizer’s) pocket mechanics seem to break down at the worst times. He got removed in the fourth quarter from two or three games last year. He got replaced at Stanford, he got replaced at USC. I’ve watched five of his games so far, and in almost every game at critical times, the pocket mechanics, the feel in the pocket, the decisions you’re making with the football, seems to break down when the team needs him the most.”

Two of the draft’s other top quarterbacks — Clemson’s and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer — are more of the developmental variety, per an AFC college scouting director quoted in the report. The scouting director said Watson is a year away from being able to run an NFL offense, while Kizer is more of a two-year project.

“I’ll be shocked if Trubisky’s not the first one off the board (among quarterbacks),” an AFC executive said.

Jeremiah’s latest mock draft projects Watson as the first quarterback selected, No. 10 overall by the Buffalo Bills, with Trubisky falling to the New York Giants at No. 23. Projecting how the top quarterbacks will fall in the draft is tricky business in February, but the NFL Scouting Combine next month and subsequent pro-day workouts could help sort out the pecking order for NFL clubs. That’s especially true for Trubisky, because NFL scouts have film from only 13 career starts at the college level to judge him on.

But if the AFC scout is correct, the experience concern about Trubisky won’t really stick to him by the time the draft comes around on April 27.