Granted Tanner Pearson Jersey , the needs are numerous for a franchise that finished 4-12 last year and has missed the playoffs for three consecutive years, but Ballard bypassed skill-position players for a second consecutive day with Friday's second-round selections of South Carolina State outside linebacker Darius Leonard, Auburn guard Braden Smith, Rutgers defensive end Kemoko Turay and Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis.
The Colts moved up three spots in a trade with Cleveland to select Lewis with the final choice of the second round. That's four of five players taken who play along the line after Ballard used Thursday's No. 6 overall pick on Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.
"No question the emphasis on our fronts, the front seven on defense and the O-line," Ballard said. "I had some frustrating moments last year, where I thought physically we didn't match up against teams, especially in our (AFC South) division. It's hard to sustain winning when your foundation, your O-line and your D-line, aren't good."
Nelson and Smith signify a concerted effort to better protect quarterback Andrew Luck, who missed all of 2017 due to shoulder surgery. The Colts allowed a league-high 56 sacks last season.
It's just the third time since 1970 that the Colts have used first- and second-round selections on offensive linemen. In 2011, they added current starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo in the opening round and guard Ben Ijalana in the second. In 1997, they drafted eventual Pro Bowl left tackle Tarik Glenn in the first and guard Adam Meadows in the second.
New head coach Frank Reich, an assistant with the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles last season, attributed the championship to the play of the fronts on both sides of the ball.
"It's not a new philosophy," he said. "I'm glad Chris and I share that same belief. That's a conviction we're going to stick to."
Nelson, lauded for his physical style and nastiness, was generally regarded as the draft's best guard prospect. Smith Matt Murray Jersey , a 6-6 and 315-pound lineman named to All-SEC teams in his last three years, allowed just 11 hurries in 1,103 pass-blocking snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus.