INDIANAPOLIS -- While the Indianapolis Colts coaching staff is in Hawaii this week for the Pro Bowl, coaching and putting their feet in the Pacific Ocean when time permits, general manager Ryan Grigson and members of the team's personnel staff are Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl preparing for the draft in May.
“The scouts, who are away from their families, they always kind of get left in the dust but without them, we don't have that bevy of players every year to look at and they separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and really help this process and find those players that are going to get us where we want to go,” Grigson said last week. “They're away from their families so much and they really make a tremendous sacrifice. Everyone is going to the Pro Bowl but they'll be down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, as well as I will be because that process is already starting as soon as the season's over. We're already trying to get better.”
The Colts don't have a first-round pick because they gave it to the Cleveland Browns as part of the Trent Richardson trade in September. They've got picks in the second, third, fifth and seventh rounds.
The Colts have to do better in this year's draft because last year's draft class didn't contribute much.
Here's a breakdown of the 2013 draft picks:
LB Bjoern Werner: 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three passes defended
OL Khaled Holmes: Holmes was inactive for nine games despite the offensive line dealing with injuries late in the season.
DT Montori Hughes: Like Holmes, Hughes spent most of the season on the inactive list (11 games).
S John Boyett: He didn't even make it to the first game of the season. Boyett was released after being arrested for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting law enforcement.
RB Kerwynn Williams: He was released before the start of the season, brought back for a couple stints on the practice squad and active roster before being cut for good in early October.
TE Justice Cunningham: See Williams above. The same thing happened to Cunningham, except he made it until late November before being released for good.
Werner showed some signs of promise and there's a good chance Thomas will move back into the starting lineup at guard next season if healthy.
“I think Bjoern, he needs to get stronger,” Grigson said. “He knows that. He got better versus the run. He had a game where he's so close to getting a tipped ball and taking it to the house. He has kind of a knack for breaking up passes, which is great. But the physicality that he's starting to play with, he's starting to get it. So I think Year 2's going to be big for Bjoern, especially having an offseason in the weight room.”
So it's easy to understand that Grigson needs to bounce back from last year's draft.