That was perception. Now, we have reality.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss wrote Tuesday it's apparent that Ballard is less than 100 percent, saying the knee issue is "still lingering." That came one day after ESPN's Chris Mortensen said on "NFL Insiders" that Ballard has "struggled so much there's now even a question whether he'll make the roster."
At 25, there's still a chance Ballard could return to his promising former form. But nothing is guaranteed. For now, Ballard has been passed on the depth chart by undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld, who has turned heads with his pass-catching skills.