The Indianapolis Colts‘ PR machine has been in attack mode when it comes to spinning the upcoming NFL Draft. Local sports radio has been running a commercial listing Colts stars who were either late-round picks or undrafted. The Colts website posted an interesting feature on general manager Ryan Grigson‘s love of scouting and finding underrated talent in unexpected places (see: Jerrell Freeman, Daniel Adongo). And all of that is true. Indianapolis seems to foster a good environment for diamonds in the rough to find their shine. It’s one of the things that makes cheering for the Colts fun.
But the draft will be kind of weird this year. The Colts don’t have a first-round pick (or, it’s Trent Richardson). They have a historical franchise low of five total picks. Chances are there just won’t be a lot of draft news, because we won’t be able to intelligently grade their choices right away.
Maybe that’s okay. Obviously, the Colts have roster needs. The offensive line is a question mark, and the unexpected retirement of free agent center Phil Costa nearly caused a panic attack (which, with all due respect to Mr. Costa, is the definition of 10-win-team problems). But despite their needs, the Colts recovered from their Manning-amputation so quickly that it still kind of feels like they’re playing with house money. They supposedly have the easiest schedule in the league this season. They don’t have the same “win now” pressure that the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are saddled with each and every week. No wonder Grigson feels like he has a little room to gamble.
The presence of Andrew Luck, much like Peyton Manning before him, can cover up a multitude of sins. I suspect this draft won’t have much impact on this season. The real test will be two or three years from now, when Luck and T.Y. Hilton are on their second contracts and Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis are likely retired. If Grigson really does have “it” in terms of unearthing underrated talent, then everything should be fine. If not, then we need to enjoy this doubly while it lasts.