When rookie running back Vick Ballard was drafted to the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round last April, there didn’t seem to be much that was going to be asked of him right away. Midway through his first season as a pro, Ballard finds himself as the bell-cow running back for one of the most surprising and rookie-laden teams in the NFL.
Ballard was drafted to a team that seemed very stacked in their running back stable at the beginning of the season. That core of running backs was quickly decimated by injury, and disabled by lack of production. Donald Brown, who began the season as the starter, was lost for the season to an ankle injury. Second-string back Delone Carter has also been battling injury, and has been less-than stellar in limited time on the field. Veteran back Mewelde Moore returned to the team last week, after being released earlier in the season. Moore had only four carries in week 15, one of which was a goal line fumble.
Ballard exploded on the scene with a highlight-of-the-year leaping touchdown rush in overtime against the Tennessee Titans in week eight. Prior to that amazing game-winner, Ballard got 20 carries for 84 yards, in a home win against the Cleveland Browns. Last Sunday, Ballard became the first Indianapolis Colt this season to rush for over 100 yards. It may have not been expected to see this much of Vick Ballard on the field for the Colts in his rookie season, but the new horse on the block has literally taken the ball and ran with it.