INDIANAPOLIS – The first draft of the General Manager Ryan Grigson-Head Coach Chuck Pagano era was spiced by the first and last selections in the 2012 process.
Grigson and Pagano oversaw 10 overall selections by Indianapolis in the draft and the infusion of talent included eight offensive players.
The first player taken was Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck was joined by tight ends Coby Fleener (Stanford) and Dwayne Allen (Clemson) with the next two subsequent picks. Indianapolis was able to augment its offense with the additions of wide receivers T.Y. Hilton (Florida International, third round) and LaVon Brazill (Ohio, sixth round), running back Vick Ballard (Mississippi State, fifth round), tackle Justin Anderson (Georgia, seventh round) and quarterback Chandler Harnish (Northern Illinois, seventh round).
The defensive players added to the Indianapolis roster were tackle Josh Chapman of Alabama in the fifth round and end Tim Fugger of Vanderbilt in the seventh round.
“I feel great about our picks,” said Grigson. “I feel like we were disciplined. That was the plan, to stay disciplined to our board and take the best football players we could and build this thing the right way. That’s what we did. At each pick, we took really good football players.”
Like the nature of all drafts, Indianapolis targeted players that came off the board before it could pick. While those occurred, the club maintained focus.
“That’s the way the draft goes and that’s why you have to your board set and stay disciplined to the board,” said Pagano. “Ryan did that. That’s why we feel so good about the guys we got.
“We feel great. Just like I told the players when I first met with them, ‘Every decision we make is based on the team, period – the team, the team, the team.’ Everybody who is involved in this understands that. Some years it just works out that way (eight offensive picks). Coming in here as a defensive coach, I’m sure everybody thought this thing probably would be flipped the other way. That’s just not how it worked out this year. … We filled some needs and created a lot of competition. We brought in a lot of good players, and we have a lot of good players here. Man sharpens man like steel sharpens steel. We’re excited to have them all.”
Here are capsules on Colts draft choices during rounds four through seven:
JOSH CHAPMAN, NG, 6-1, 316, Alabama, D5a (136th)
Chapman had 23 tackles, 10 solo, one sack, 3.5 tackles for losses and two passes broken up this past season as Alabama won the national championship. Chapman started 25 of 54 career games, including 11 of 12 outings in 2011, despite injuring the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury happened against Florida, but the chance to win a title kept Chapman in the lineup. Alabama avenged a regular-season loss to LSU by blanking the Tigers in the title game, 21-0. After January surgery, he indicated he should be ready for training camp.
In 2011, Alabama held opponents to fewer than 260 yards a game and limited opponents to less than 11 points an outing. It was the only school among the 119 FBS institutions to stake the claim. Alabama also averaged 2.3 sacks and 7.4 tackles behind the scrimmage line to rank among the nation’s leaders. Alabama (72.15) led the nation in rush defense, total defense (183.62) and scoring defense (8.15).
For his career, Chapman had 88 tackles, 44 solo, 13.5 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks and four passes defensed. In 2011, he earned All-America notice by Pro Football Weekly and second-team All-SEC honors by AP and the conference’s coaches. Chapman had 31 tackles, 18 solo, and 3.5 tackles for losses in 2010. Alabama yielded 110.2 rushing yards per game, 10th in the nation. Its defense ranked fifth in the nation overall (286.4) and third in scoring (13.5).
Chapman started two of 26 games from 2008-09. He played in three games in 2007 before earning a medical redshirt due to a shoulder injury.
Chapman’s entry into the NFL was preceded by two recent Alabama nose guards, Terrence Cody (Baltimore) and Marcel Dareus (Buffalo).
QUOTE-UNQUOTE: (on being drafted) “(I feel) pretty good, man. (I’m) real excited right now. I’m glad to be a part of the Colts organization. I’m glad to be a Colt and ready to get into this process. The 3-4 defense going in, that’s the defense I love to play, playing nose guard. (I want to) make this organization win a championship. … I’m glad to be in the organization and play the game that I love.” (on his rehabilitation) “I’m probably about I want to say 50 percent. I’m probably more than 50 percent. I’ve been straight-line running, kind of ahead of schedule so we kind of slowed it down a little bit. We don’t want to rush anything with the knee. I should be ready (for training camp). That’s the way I’ve been rehabbing and training.”
VICK BALLARD, RB, 5-11, 217, Mississippi State, D5b (170th)
Vick Ballard started 23 of 25 career games at Mississippi State in 2010-11 after opening 20 of 23 games at Mississippi Gulf Coast College in 2008-09. In his last two seasons, Ballard had 379 rushes for 2,157 yards and 29 touchdowns, while having 30 receptions for 293 yards and two scores.
Ballard earned second-team All-SEC honors last season with 193 rushes for 1,189 yards and 10 touchdowns. He ranked fourth in the SEC in rushing yards per game, while his yardage was the fourth-highest seasonal total in school history. His 1,376 all-purpose yards ranked as the sixth-highest seasonal total in school history. Ballard topped 100 rushing yards against Memphis, Auburn, Alabama-Birmingham, Tennessee-Martin, Ole Miss and Wake Forest. He had 166 yards against Memphis in the opener and closed his career with 183 yards on 14 rushes against Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl.
As a junior, Ballard led the SEC with 120 points, sixth in the nation. He rushed for 19 touchdowns on 968 yards (186 carries). He added a scoring reception to total 20 scores for the season. Ballard had four 100 rushing games and averaged 105.9 all-purpose yards per outing. He had three rushing touchdowns against Alcorn State, Houston, Arkansas and Michigan.
In two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, he rushed for 2,283 yards and 34 touchdowns, including 1,728 yards and 22 tallies in 2009. He had eight 100 rushing outings over two seasons, including a 263-yard effort in 2009.
QUOTE-UNQUOTE: (on his style) “I try to be (as) balanced as possible. I try to do everything I can to stay on the field. I block, catch, I try to do everything the best I can. … I try to mimic basically anybody who’s been successful. You can learn something from everybody.” (on pass blocking) “I think I’m pretty decent at it, but I can still get better. At Mississippi State that was one thing, if you couldn’t protect the quarterback you couldn’t play, so that was real important to me.”
LaVON BRAZILL, WR, 5-11, 191, Ohio, D6c (206th)
LaVon Brazill appeared in 49 career games, including 14 in 2011 when he had 74 receptions for 1,146 yards and 11 touchdowns, with the yardage and scoring totals setting school seasonal marks, and he set six school records for his career. In his final season, Brazill topped 100 reception yards against Kent State, Ball State, Akron, Temple and Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship. Additionally, he had a 67-yard scoring run against Buffalo. Brazill was the MVP of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Brazill ended his Bobcat career with 189 receptions for 2,511 yards and 18 touchdowns. His receptions and yardage established new school career records. He had 63 punt returns for a 10.6 average, while totaling 3,462 career all-purpose yards. He set a school mark with four scoring punt returns.
Brazill’s 2010 season was limited to three outings. In 2009, he had 53 recepitons for 702 yards and six touchdowns. His season was highlighted with three scoring punt returns – 72 yards against Bowling Green, 87 yards against Kent State and 91 yards against Northern Illinois. He was the lone FBS players with three scoring returns. Brazill was a second-team All-America choice by The Sporting News. He started 12 games in 2008 and had 34 receptions for 384 yards and one touchdown, and he a 66-yard scoring punt return against Akron.
JUSTIN ANDERSON, OT, 6-5, 342, Georgia, D7a (208th)
Justin Anderson was a four-year performer who saw the most of his action at offensive tackle, but he spent time during his junior year on the defensive line.
Anderson started 14 games in 2011 after moving back to offense. Georgia earned a 10-4 record, including 7-1 in the SEC. The Bulldogs advanced to the SEC Championship game before falling to LSU. Anderson ended his career against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. Anderson helped Georgia earn a 164.0 rushing average, while the offense amassed 5,719 total yards and scored 54 touchdowns. He was one of the team’s Most Improved Player Award recipients.
Anderson appeared in one game on the defensive line in 2010 before a turf toe ended his season. In 2009, he started five of 13 appearances at right tackle. He started seven of 12 games in 2008, opening against Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, LSU, Florida, Kentucky and Arizona State. He was named to multiple all-freshman teams. Anderson had a redshirt season in 2007.
TIM FUGGER, DE, 6-4, 250, Vanderbilt, D7b (214th)
Tim Fugger was a four-year performer at defensive end who totaled 90 career tackles, 53 solo, 20.5 tackles for losses, 12 sacks, six quarterback hits, eight forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered.
Fugger started 13 games as a senior and had 33 stops, eight sacks and 13.5 tackles for losses. He also forced three fumbles and recovered one fumble, earning second-team All-SEC honors by the conference coaches and honorable mention notice from the Associated Press. Fugger ranked in the top ten in conference sacks and tackles for losses. Had a career-high five stops against Alabama and had multiple sacks against Arkansas and Connecticut.
Fugger started 10 times and played in every game in 2010, posting 22 tackles, three sacks and four forced fumbles. His forced fumbles total ranked among national leaders. Fugger opened eight of 12 games in 2009 and had 21 stops. He had nine appearances in 2008 and had 14 stops. Fugger appeared in the Music City Bowl victory over Boston College. Fugger had a redshirt season in 2007, seeing no action. He started his career as a tight end before moving to defensive end.
CHANDLER HARNISH, QB, 6-2, 219, Northern Illinois, D7c (253rd)
Chandler Harnish was the first freshman to start for the school since 1985, and he opened 45-of- 47 games, completing 687-of-1,110 passes for 8,944 yards, with 68 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. Harnish rushed 538 times for 2,983 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was involved in 1,648 plays and gained 11,927 yards total offense. Harnish was responsible for 92 touchdowns and averaged 253.77 total yards per game. He holds the school career records for attempts, completions, yards, yards per game average, total yards, total plays, total touchdowns and average per play (7.2). He holds school seasonal records in attempts, passing yards, yards per game, rushing average, total plays and yards in total offense. His career ended with him being the school record-bearer in 30 passing, rushing and total offense records.
In 2011, Harnish hit 237-of-384 passes for 3,216 yards, with 28 touchdowns. He rushed 194 times for 1,379 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning the MAC MVP honors by conference coaches and he was the MAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year. He became the first quarterback to lead the school to four straight bowl games, and he was a semifinalist for the Walter Camp Player-of-the-Year Award. He set 24 school marks during the year and had at least 400 yards offense in five outings in starting 14 games.
Harnish opened 13 games in 2010, completing 189-of-292 passes for 2,530 yards and 21 touchdowns. He rushed for 836 yards and seven scores. He led NIU to an undefeated regular season and 11 wins, completing 64.7 percent of his passes. Harnish opened 18-of-20 games in his first two seasons, passing for 1,528 and 1,670 yards, while rushing for almost 800 yards during that span.
Harnish was born in Bluffton, Indiana and attended Norwell High School in Ossian, Indiana.
QUOTE-UNQUOTE: (on being picked by Colts) “You know what, at the end of the day, I’m just happy to be wanted by a team and I’m happy to be an Indianapolis Colt. (The Colts) have been my hometown favorite team all the way through and now I can put that license plate back on my car.” (on joining Andrew Luck with Colts) “Hey you know what, Andrew Luck is a great player and even better person and hey, I’ll come in, I’ll compete with him and the other quarterbacks on the roster. I’m just so happy to be a Colt now. You know, whatever I can do to help the team, that’s what I’m about. I’m a team player and a hard-worker, but again I’m just so ecstatic right now. Few words come to mind when I can think about being a part of hometown favorite team.”