The clock is ticking on their contracts before the ink has dried.

Like he did throughout the free-agent signing period, Ballard relied heavily on input from Colts coordinators in evaluating prospects and how well they would fit into the systems being run. Based on recent Colts drafts, this approach stands in stark contrast to what sometimes transpired during Grigson’s tenure.

The Colts’ disastrous 2013 class — none of the seven players remain on their roster — and the 2015 first-round selection of wide receiver Phillip Dorsett when Indianapolis desperately needed defensive help are among the decisions that set the franchise back.

“If you’re not communicating on a daily basis — and you can never over-communicate — the rest of the building feels it,” Ballard told co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “When there’s tension, everybody feels it.

The past six first rounds have produced 17 quarterbacks since a rookie salary cap was instituted in 2011 as part of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with its players union. Sixteen of them started at least one game as rookies with the lone exception being Tennessee’s Jake Locker.

No accident there. The clock is ticking on their contracts before the ink has dried. Teams have three seasons to determine whether it’s worth picking up the fifth-year option on those deals or move onto another passer.

Why? He’s a winner. Watson left Clemson with a 32-3 record as a starter, and it’s clear to anybody who watched the last two College Football Playoff championship games who the best football player on the field was.
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