AFC South GM Power Ranking entering Week 13: Where does Trent Baalke stand?

How does Jaguars GM Trent Baalke stack up against his AFC South peers?

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Raymond Vohasek (59) fist bumps general manager Trent Baalke
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Raymond Vohasek (59) fist bumps general manager Trent Baalke / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA
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3. Chris Ballard, Indianapolis Colts

Chis Ballard got off to a relatively quiet start with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. However, he got lots of attention the following year after drafting a pair of All-Pros, guard Quenton Nelson and Shaquille Leonard. The fact that Andrew Luck managed to stay healthy and lead Indy to the playoffs gave Ballard's reputation a boost. But then, Luck chose to retire before the start of the 2019 season, and things went sideways.

It's understandable that Ballard didn't have a contingency plan in place when Luck suddenly hung up the cleats. However, he had no excuse after trying (and failing) to address the position several times. Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, and even Sam Ehlinger were some of the quarterbacks who were given a tryout, and not one of them proved to be the answer. The fact that Ballard wasn't able to reload the roster didn't help matters, and the Colts progressively got worse.

But then, Ballard worked his magic again and came out of the 2023 draft with a franchise quarterback (at last) and a handful of players who've gone on to fill key roles. Anthony Richardson suffered a shoulder injury in Week 4 and is out for the season. But he showed enough promise to make you think he'll bring long-term stability behind center in Indianapolis.

Leaving aside Richardson, wide receiver Josh Downs, offensive lineman Blake Freeland, and defensive back Jaylon Jones have seen lots of playing time this season. At 6-5, the Colts are a long shot to make the playoffs but they've remained competitive and should be in contention once Anthony Richardson comes back next year. That should be enough to cool down Chris Ballard's seat considerably.