INDIANAPOLIS – Out of the many position battles about to play out at Colts training camp this year, General Manager Chris Ballard finds several particularly intriguing.
“I think the linebacker position is one that I think we have a lot of talent,” says Ballard. “I think it will be fun to watch those guys battle for the roster. I think we have three tremendous linebackers in Darius (Leonard), (Anthony) Walker and (Bobby) Okereke. I think we can compare them to anybody in the league and they are all young, athletic, fast – everything we want.”
It’s not only the starting linebackers who have Ballard intrigued.
“Behind them it’s not like it’s chopped liver either,” he continues. “I mean we think (E.J.) Speed has a lot of upside. You have Matt Adams and Zaire (Franklin) who are both mainstays. They both have played for us and have been great on teams. Then you have (Jordan) Glasgow added that we think has a really good fit. So, that’s going to be fun to watch.”
One of the deeper units on the team plays right in front of the linebackers.
“There is no question that on the d-line – you know I’m driven by it,” explains Ballard. “You know we have to be great there. So I’m looking at what the addition of (DeForest) Buckner, how it’s really going to impact everybody else. I think it’s going to have a big impact and I think he’s a pretty special player but also a special person. He’s going to be a great addition and it will be fun to watch that.”
Out of all the position battles, perhaps the most important comes at a position directly responsible for putting points on the board.
“Then, of course the kicking battle,” says Ballard. “We’re going to have to find ways to make sure that we create enough competition and pressure situations for both (Chase) McLaughlin and (Rodrigo) Blankenship. Frank (Reich) and (his) staff have a plan for it, but that’s going to be an interesting one to watch.”