Free agency will help determine Colts draft

INDIANAPOLIS -- The question around this time of year when the NFL scouting combine is going on is: Who are the Indianapolis Colts looking at drafting?

That question is often challenging for the team with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Will the Houston Texans go with one of the quarterbacks or South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney?

The Colts don't have a first-round pick, so trying to predict who they'll select at No. 59 is almost impossible.

Indianapolis has needs on the offensive line, receiver and linebacker. What the Colts do in free agency will also impact which direction they go in the draft. They could end up needing help at cornerback, safety and punter depending on what happens with Vontae Davis, Antoine Bethea and fan-favorite Pat McAfee, who are all free agents.

"We're optimistic about the process and our game plan, but it is the NFL," Colts general manager Grigson said. "You want to lock everybody up and have everybody here, but it’s still the NFL and you can’t have everything. We're going to try like heck to get that process worked through and see it through how we like."

As far as free agency goes, Grigson will likely take a methodical approach with things and allow the market to get set before doing anything so that he avoids overpaying to re-sign one of his own players.

ESPN’s John Clayton reported over the weekend that the salary cap will be $132 million, which means the Colts will have about $39 million in cap space.

“Just like the draft, free agency kind of mirrors the draft, in sense going to have weaker position groups and stronger position groups every year at different spots,” Grigson said. “So what we do, we have our pro scouts and guys just digging and I get a list during the season, I start knocking those guys out. Because you have to chip away every day, because you can’t do everybody the day before March 11, and then have your draft in place as well. It’s a process and something you have to chip away every day just to have that overall picture in your mind to see if it meshes with what you, your head coach and all your staff kind of sees as our vision moving forward. So we’re just diligent making sure we unearth everybody.”