Colts GM Chris Ballard Named Executive of the Year by PFWA
INDIANAPOLIS--Indianapolis Colts General Manager Chris Ballard has been named the 2018 NFL Executive of the Year.
That award was granted to him by the Pro Football Writers Association. That award earned him praise from Colts owner Jim Irsay.
CONGRATS to my GM Chris Ballard! Pro Football Writer's Association 2018 NFL EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR.
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) January 17, 2019
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, whose moves helped the Colts earn an AFC playoff spot for the first time since 2014 with a 10-6 record, was selected as the 2018 NFL Executive of the Year.
— Pro Football Writers (@PFWAwriters) January 17, 2019
He helped get the Colts back to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2014.
Ballard’s 2018 NFL Draft is considered one of the strongest drafts the Colts have had in recent years.
Ballard’s first two picks — No. 6 overall pick Quenton Nelson and No. 36 overall pick Darius Leonard — would become the first rookie teammates to be named First-Team All-Pro since Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers with the Chicago Bears in 1965.
Other significant moves by Ballard included the signings of tight end Eric Ebron and defensive end Denico Autry in free agency. Ebron led all NFL tight ends in touchdowns in 2018 and made the Pro Bowl. Autry led the team with nine sacks and made the team as a Pro Bowl alternate.
All of Ballard's 11 draft picks in 2018 remain with the team — as well as three of their original undrafted free agent signings — and most of them either contributed as rookies or even became regular starters.
The Colts made the playoffs and won a playoff game over the Houston Texans before losing in the AFC Divisional Round to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Colts finished the regular season 10-6 after starting out 1-5.
This is the fifth time a Colts general manager has won the PFWA's NFL Executive of the Year award since its inception in 1993. Bill Polian won it three times (1999, 2005, 2009) and Ryan Grigson won it once (2012).
(PHOTO: Michael Hickey/Getty Images)