WESTFIELD, Ind. — The more Chris Ballard and his scouting staff can get an up-close-and-personal look at various prospects — no matter where they come from — the better.
So on Thursday, the Indianapolis Colts did just that, as they hosted their annual Local Pro Day for 38 prospects of local colleges and hometowns at the Grand Park Events Center in Westfield, the team’s new training camp home starting in August.
“This is a great day,” Ballard said. “Guys that are local — you know, from Illinois, from Purdue, from Ball State, some of the local colleges — it’s a great day to get to see these guys live and moving around. And we like to get involved.”
And by getting involved, Ballard means that literally. He made sure he was visible to the prospects throughout the afternoon, taking a knee at the finish line with his stopwatch in hand while a handful of players ran 40-yard dashes and walking around to get a close look at each position group as it went through drills.
“It’s nice to get back in your element of scouting, because essentially, at the end of the day, that’s why I got the job,” said Ballard, who is in his second year as the Colts’ general manager. “So to be able to get back out here again, it was a fun day.”
But the Colts’ Local Pro Day isn’t just an excuse for the scouting staff and the coaches to get out of the office in the middle of long draft meetings; some gems can really be found.
Two players currently on the Colts’ roster, center Deyshawn Bond (Cincinnati) and wide receiver Krishawn Hogan (Marian), took advantage of their Local Pro Day workout last year and would end up playing for the team during the 2017 season.
Ballard said he liked what he saw out of Thursday’s group, too.
“I thought it was really good,” he said. “We’ve got some talented kids here — I think a few that will get drafted — and that was a good thing for us and our staff, coaches, to be able to get their eyes on ‘em, work ‘em out, see how they respond to coaching. And you never know. I mean, anytime you get a look at a guy, the more looks you get, the more comfortable you feel with him. So we’re encouraged by what we saw today by this group of players we had in.”
Here’s the list of the 2018 Local Pro Day attendees for the Colts:
- ALEXANDER, DEONTEZ, WR, Franklin College
- BECK, JASON, LB, Eastern Michigan
- BENTLEY, JA'WHAUN, LB, Purdue
- COBBS, SIMMIE, WR, Indiana
- COOK, JOHN, S, Purdue
- CRAWFORD, JAMES, DE, Illinois
- DILAURO, CHRISTIAN, G, Illinois
- DUNLAP, JAYLEN, CB, Illinois
- DUTRA, CHASE, S, Indiana
- EPPS, RAYMOND, FB, SMU
- EZECHUKWU, DANNY, LB, Purdue
- FANT, RASHARD, CB, Indiana
- FERRER, NICHOLAS, QB, Saint Francis (Ind.)
- FIELDS, ANTONIO, S, Indiana
- FOSTER, KENDRICK, RB, Illinois
- GOOCH, GREGORY, DE, Indiana
- HOLCOMB, RUBEN, T, Indianapolis
- HUDSON, GARRETT, LB, Purdue
- HUNTE, DA'WAN, CB, Purdue
- LAGOW, RICHARD, QB, Indiana
- MAHOUNGOU, ANTHONY, WR, Purdue
- MCCOLLUM, TRAVIS, LB, Purdue
- MCCRAY, ROBERT, DE, Indiana
- MILES, ANTOINE, DE, Purdue
- OAKES, GRIFFIN, K, Indiana
- OKONYE, JOSHUA, CB, Purdue
- PHILLIPS, GREGORY, WR, Purdue
- ROBERTS, AUSTIN, TE, UCLA
- ROBINSON, GELEN, DT, Purdue
- SCALES, TEGRAY, LB, Indiana
- STEINMETZ, DAVID, OT, Purdue
- THOMAS, IAN, TE, Indiana
- TURNER, MALIK, WR, Illinois
- WILLIS, JOSH, LB, Butler
- WILLIS, KEVIN, DT, Ball State
- WILSON, EDDY, DT, Purdue
- WINBUSH, ANTHONY, DE, Ball State
- WOZNIAK, NATHANIEL, TE, Minnesota
(Twelve schools represented: Purdue , Indiana , Illinois , Ball State , Butler , Eastern Michigan , Franklin College , Indianapolis , Minnesota , Saint Francis , SMU , UCLA )
Now, Ballard and his staff, as well as head coach Frank Reich and his staff, head back to the Colts’ West 56th Street facility to continue long, long meetings to get fully prepared for the 2018 NFL Draft, which begins on April 26.
The Colts have nine picks in this year’s draft, including the No. 6-overall selection and three picks in the second round.