INDIANAPOLIS – A repetitive recap of the Indianapolis Colts’ day 2 work in the NFL Draft: Offense, offense, offense.
Chris Ballard and his personnel staff added a 3rd-round pick in a trade with Denver to ensure landing Maryland safety Nick Collins, but that defensive twist was preceded by selections at three critical offensive positions.
*Wideout: Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce in round 2 after trading back from 42nd overall to 53rd in a trade with Minnesota.
*Tight end: Virginia’s Jelani Woods in round 3 (73rd overall).
*Offensive tackle: Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann in round 3 (77th overall).
“Fun night,’’ Ballard said late Friday after rounds 2-3 had ended. “Good night.’’
The Colts believed the “meat of the draft’’ was in the mid-to-late second round and into the early portions of round 5. The more selections in that wheelhouse, the better.
“To be able to come out of it with four players we think are really good . . . they have the type of makeup we look for,’’ Ballard said.
More to the point, it was critical to come away with impactful additions on offense. Pierce and Woods, Ballard insisted, make the Colts better.
“Yeah,’’ he said. “Look, we added some unique guys that are going to add some explosive ability to our offense.’’
During the lengthy evaluation process, Ballard jotted a bullet point on a board in the draft room.
We have to be more explosive on offense.
“And I think adding these two young men to the mix with what we have is going to help that,’’ he said. “Even with all the griping about (2021) . . . we were up there in scoring (9th, 26.5 points per game). At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about, scoring points.
“We folded at the end, but for most of the year we were pretty good offensively.’’
The Carson Wentz-led passing game, though, deteriorated as the season unfolded. It wound up 26th.
Pierce and Woods should provide Matt Ryan with missing options. Raimann has “starter’’ talent, according to Ballard, and should compete with Matt Pryor for snaps at left tackle.
“We’ll get the best five on the field,’’ he said.
Last season, Pierce averaged 17 yards on 52 receptions with eight touchdowns. He’s 6-1, 211 and runs a 4.41 40. Woods, 6-7 and 253, averaged 13.6 yards with eight TDs.
Pierce possesses the versatility to line up outside and threaten a defense with his deep speed or work out of the slot.
“Just put on the Notre Dame game,’’ Ballard insisted.
Against the Irish, ranked 9th at the time, Pierce piled up 144 yards on six receptions.
Pierce is unique, Ballard insisted.
Woods is unique, he insisted.
“He’s a unique athlete and he’s always open,’’ Ballard said of Woods.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.