Indianapolis Colts must factor in highs and lows of team management
Ryan Grigson’s Hit List
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Grigson doesn’t get credit for drafting Andrew Luck. That pick was made by Irsay. This wasn’t the tough decision between Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning that Bill Polian ultimately made, it was a much easier choice between Robert Griffin III and Luck. Luck was always the better player with a higher ceiling and was considering the next Manning for years before his senior year. Griffin merely had one great season in college and they his durability concerns became a real problem in the NFL.
Alright, aside from the Grigson’s 2012 draft was very good. It won him GM of the Year (likely with an assist from Bruce Arians who took over while Pagano was battling leukemia). Outside of Luck, he snagged a Pro Bowler in T.Y. Hilton who is now among the best wide receivers in the NFL. They also have Dwayne Allen still on the roster who has the potential to be a dynamic top tier tight end.
Two other players, Vick Ballard and Coby Fleener, were important pieces of the team in 2012 and weren’t exactly misses either. That draft had a number of other pieces that failed to pan out due to off field issues (like LaVon Brazill).
In 2014, Grigson picked up Jack Mewhort who has been the team’s best lineman and Donte Moncrief who is a dangerous red zone receiver (they just have to figure out how to use him better between the 20s).
2015 was a mixed bag, but did feature three great pick ups in a row in Henry Anderson, Clayton Geathers, and David Parry. Those are solid building blocks on defense going forward but the first two have been battling injuries that are slowing their development. Denzelle Good has started on the offensive line at times but whether or not he’s a good player remains to be seen.
Really it is too early to say whether or not the 2015 and 2016 players will pan out. Center Ryan Kelly seems like a good player, as does Hassan Ridegeway from this years draft but it really is too early to tell.
The free agent hits have been few and far between, but that is common of free agents. The best thing Grigson has done is not put the Colts in a huge hole with any free agent contract and given the team an easy out after a year or two.
But some of his hits include Erik Walden, who has steadily gotten better and currently leads the team in sacks, and Mike Adams, who was a desperation pick that fits Pagano’s scheme very well and led the NFL in takeaways in 2014. Frank Gore would also qualify as a success as he has been consistent despite poor blocking and a roller coaster at QB for much of his time in Indy.
Tight end Jack Doyle also qualifies as a success story for Grigson and has been one of the most reliable targets for Luck this season. Were he able to stay healthy, we could include Ahmad Bradshaw on this list too. We’ll give Grigson partial credit here.
Kendall Langford proved to be a solid pick up last season as well. Injuries have kept him off the field this year, but he was the most productive lineman on the roster in 2015.
Jerrell Freeman was a four year starter as well as an undrafted free agent, and failing to re-sign him this offseason might be one of Grigson’s bigger mistakes (although he was suspended for PEDs this year).