I’m sitting here at the Colts complex just in case team president Bill Polian decides to move up in the NFL draft, which he won’t. I think there’s a good chance I’ll go home late tonight without the Colts making any picks. If Polian has his way, he’ll move down from 31 into the second round.
Polian likes to move down in the draft and get more picks. He hates paying first round rookies big money when they haven’t played a down of NFL football. He always stresses the importance of the whole draft and signing rookie free agents. He says the hard work comes in the later rounds.
At his pre-draft news conference, Polian pointed out how many Colts starters on this year’s Super Bowl team were later round picks or undrafted players: Jeff Saturday (undrafted), Gary Brackett (undrafted), Melvin Bullitt (undrafted), Antoine Bethea (6th round), Pierre Garcon (6th round) and Robert Mathis (5th round) among the most notable. Of course, without first rounder Peyton Manning (number one overall in 1998), the Colts would not be the consistent winner they are. But the meat of the team comes from solid scouting and wise picks that come long after even the most rabid NFL fans have turned off the TV.
There’s not much excitement in the draft for a Super Bowl team. Not like when I traveled to New York City in 1998 to see if Polian take Peyton Manning instead of Ryan Leaf, the best decision in franchise history. A year later I was at Madison Square Garden when Polian made another smart choice, Edgerrin James over Ricky Williams with the 4th overall pick. Since then, the Colts have not picked in the top 10.
I picked USC offensive tackle Charles Brown for the Colts at #31 in one of those radio mock drafts today. But I think the Colts greatest need is actually a defensive tackle. The Colts are adequate at best at that position. That first pick will be important. Last year’s first rounder Donald Brown made a nice contribution as a rookie. But just as important was the signing of Jacob Lacey after the draft ended. The free agent cornerback nobody picked through 7 rounds became a solid starter.
-Rich Nye, WTHR Sports Reporter
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