INDIANAPOLIS -- After countless mock drafts, countless talk about draft prospects and the combine two months ago, the NFL draft has finally arrived.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson's fourth draft will start with the No. 29th pick unless he trades up or down. His first three drafts have been mixed. Quarterback Andrew Luck, of course, has been the best of the group. But then you have linebacker Bjoern Werner, who was a healthy inactive for the AFC Championship Game last season.
A common theme with Grigson’s first three drafts is that he used early picks on offensive players. Of the eight players the Colts have selected in the first three rounds of the draft since 2012, seven have been offensive players. He had to put talent around Luck. The defensive players taken in the later rounds haven’t exactly stood out, with the exception of Jonathan Newsome.
Let’s take a look back at Grigson’s first three drafts:
QB Andrew Luck (1, 1), TE Coby Fleener (2, 34), TE Dwayne Allen (3, 64), WR T.Y. Hilton (3, 92), DL Josh Chapman (5, 136), RB Vick Ballard (5, 136), WR LaVon Brazill (6, 206), OL Justin Anderson, LB Tim Fugger (7, 214), QB Chandler Harnish (7, 253)
Positive: Luck was a no-brainer for Grigson in his first draft, but he also did well after that. Fleener, Allen, Hilton, Chapman and Ballard (rookie season) have started or are currently starters. Luck led the NFL in touchdown passes with 40 and threw for 4,761 yards. Hilton is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance after finishing with 82 receptions for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Fleener and Allen had eight touchdown receptions each last season.
Negative: It would be nitpicking to talk about Brazill, because the Colts gave him opportunities, but the receiver refused to follow the rules. He was released by the team in July 2014 after he was suspended by the NFL for at least a year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Chapman has yet to become a force in the middle of the defensive line. The Colts need him to plug up the hole, especially when it comes to stopping the run.
Positive: Grigson gave up a second-round pick in this draft to acquire Vontae Davis, who has become one of the premier cornerbacks in the league and is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance.
Negative: Werner, who started in place of the injured Robert Mathis (Achilles) last season, only has 6.5 sacks in his two seasons and was a healthy inactive in the AFC Championship Game last season. Holmes, once thought of as the center the Colts would team with Luck for years to come, has struggled to stay healthy and he’s headed into a competition with Jonotthan Harrison for the starting job next season. Thornton has also dealt with injury problems and the Colts are still waiting on him to maximize his talent.
Positive: Grigson got the most out of his five draft picks last season. Mewhort started 14 games last season and will likely be a starter on the offensive line for years to come. Moncrief showed flashes last season and should be no worse than the No. 3 receiver next season. He finished with 32 receptions for 444 yards and three touchdowns. Newsome led the Colts in sacks with 6.5 last season.
Negative: Grigson gave up a first-round pick for running back Trent Richardson. We all know how that turned out. Richardson rushed for less than 1,000 yards in his two seasons with the Colts. He’s now with the Oakland Raiders. You can’t fault Grigson for drafting Jackson, who was released in February. Jackson had two DUI’s in less than a year.