Another piece of the Colts’ wildly successful 2012 NFL Draft class is running back Vick Ballard, who stepped in as the starter last season and did an excellent job. Ballard isn’t a flashy player, by any means, but he is a guy who was able to get the job done and make some big plays along the way.
Despite Ballard’s solid performance, the Colts still ranked among the league’s worst in rushing offense. Ballard ranked fourth among rookies in carries (211) and fifth overall in rushing yardage (814).
Ballard had a couple of really solid games last season, including a game against the Houston Texans where he ran for 105 yards on 18 carries. Still, despite Ballard’s ability to handle the load at the RB position, the Colts were unimpressed with his upside as a potential starting back in the league. This is obviously a guy that can handle spot starting duty, but the Colts didn’t quite envision him as a full-time back, so it was interesting to me they didn’t go after a RB early in the 2013 NFL Draft.
For a really in-depth look at Ballard’s rookie season from a scouting perspective, check out Evan Silva’s piece over at Rotoworld.
Here is a look at Ballard’s numbers from the 2012 season, his first in the NFL.
The former fifth round pick out of Mississippi State should be second in line for carries this year behind Ahmad Bradshaw, and unless Bradshaw is injured, I fully expect Ballard’s numbers to take a significant dip in 2013.
I could see him getting about 10-12 carries per game, but not a lot more than that. The Colts have quite a few guys who can contribute at RB, but Bradshaw is the most experienced and most talented. If Ballard is to have much fantasy upside this year, it could potentially be as a goal line back.
Projected Stats: 140 carries, 560 yards, 3 TD
I think Ballard is a solid player, and a tough runner. I’m just not sure he’s the best runner on the Colts’ roster right now. I think Ahmad Bradshaw adds a whole other element to the offense, while the Colts felt–even after the draft–that they still needed to upgrade the RB position.
Ballard did a solid job as a rookie, coming in after week five as the full-time tailback and never giving up the job. That being said, it might take injuries again this year for him to have a lot of fantasy upside. Keep an eye on him as a handcuff this year.