Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 8/10/12

I've been saying this for months now, and I've decided to write a whole thing about it: Vick Ballard has looked the best in camp and will be the starter by midseason.

There are a lot of new faces at the Colts' training camp in Anderson, Indiana, and one of those new faces is 5th round pick running back Vick Ballard. Ballard was projected as a fullback or a Jonathan Stewart like running back. Well, he'll be playing running back with the Colts since the Colts don't utilize a fullback anymore. Anyways... after watching Ballard for a few days and reading some reports on him, it's clear that he's been the best of the group throughout training camp. He's one of the hardest working guys on the field, whether it's the offense, defense or Coach Pagano screaming at Drew Stanton, and on top of that, he's a Coke Machine with legs. It's tough to bring this guy down. I remember on one particular play where it took a few players including Tom Zbikowski to take him down. He's 220 pounds and runs hard every time. That's what we want to see. He also looked one of the fastest of the bunch, which surprised the hell out of me, because he didn't look blazing in college and his 40 time wasn't great.

So, I've mentioned that he's had a great training camp, the best of any running back, but why should he be the starter? Why should he start over proven players like Donald Brown, or even Mewelde Moore. This is why.

Hard work can lead you a long way. The season will start and Donald Brown will be slated as the starter, but he looked sloppy in training camp, and if it weren't for the 80 yard run against the TItans last year, his yards per carry average would have dropped by .7 yards. He just hasn't impressed anyone, and I just don't think that that could translate well onto the field. If you can't beat the Colts defense in training camp, how can you beat the Bears (who they play on Week 1), or the Packers (who they play on Week 4). In the past, Joseph Addai has looked great in training camp, which is why he always started, along with the fact that he was more proven than the others. He beat the Colts D, but he had some trouble in the later years against other Ds.

My point, if you can't beat the Colts' D in practice, you won't beat anyone in real games, which is why I think that Donald Brown has to show us a lot in the preseason, or at the start of the regular season or he'll be on the bench. I just don't think he'll do that. 

Now, Delone Carter is slated at number 2. This is a much more winnable battle for Ballard. I like to think Ballard is a better Carter. He's bigger, stronger, and by the looks of it, seems to be faster. Again, sounds crazy, but those are my observations based on training camp. Although Carter hasn't fumbled, and has looked great inside the 10 yard line. The reason is is that Carter is somewhat unproven. He didn't play that much last year, and when he did he would fumble. Also, there would be a lot of runs where there would be an open hole that he would fail to realize is open and run through the wrong hole. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed. This battle is going to come down to the preseason games, and if given the same amount of snaps, he should do better. Ballard is running with more of a fire under his ass because he could be cut.

Yes, Vick Ballard, our 5th round pick could be cut. 

Just because you're a draft pick doesn't mean you'll make the team. You could say that's the case for the first 3 round picks, but after that, you're on the chopping block, don't kid yourself. There have been numerous late round picks that have been cut. Numerous is the right word, try thousands. If you're a Colts fan, then you'll know that Terrence Taylor, the 2009 4th round pick was cut before the season started and the same with 7th round pick Ray Fisher. You're not off the hook when you're a draft pick, especially a late one. Because of this, Ballard will probably have more intensity during the games. 

The guys with more to prove with run harder and try harder, that's just a fact. I've seen it so many times. Think about it, what do the guys who are guarranteed a spot have to worry about, nothing. They just have to get ready for the season. Ballard has shined in the minicamps, has shined in the training camp, and if he shines in the preseason, he could definitely win the backup spot. 

The Colts are also expecting to utilize a smash and dash kind of running game, or in easier terms, a power running game. Donald Brown will most likely be getting 18 or so runs a game, with the backup, whether it be Carter or Ballard getting 7-10 runs. That's just what's expected. If Ballard gets the backup spot, he'll get 7-10 runs a game to show off his skills. I predict Brown will falter during the season, which means that Ballard could definitely get the starting spot.

Also, last year, we saw, when Brown was kind of slowing down, Delone Carter get a lot of snaps. From weeks 5 through 8 (4 weeks), Carter got 12 more carries than Brown. Then Delone Carter started the Falcons game and the his fumbling problems continued, and Brown was later given the feature back role with Carter spending time on the bench. If Carter had better hands, we would have seen a more even workload. 

I believe Vick Ballard could be this year's Carter, but with more energy and with better hands.

Ballard also has the ability to handle that workload. As stated before, Brown is expected to take 18 or so snaps a game. Ballard average 16 in college. A few more won't kill him, and he would probably be eased into the role rather than tossed in there.

If you get the chance, watch #33 more closely throughout the preseason.

This running back spot is more wide open than many people think, and because of Ballard's hard work and great training camp, he could take over the starting spot by midseason.

I'd like to say that this was more of a rant than a well structured article, so I hope you were able to follow along.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Everything Colts.

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