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NFL Draft: Colts Ready for Day Two Action

Posted May 8, 2014

For only the fifth time in franchise history, the Colts did not have a first-round draft pick. Ryan Grigson was attuned to the process, and Indianapolis is ready for action in rounds two and three on Friday.



INDIANAPOLIS – Just because Ryan Grigson and the Colts were on the sidelines Thursday during the first round of the NFL Draft, it did not mean it was quiet at the team’s headquarters.

 

“You’re taking everything in.  There’s a lot of last-minute information, misinformation and things swirling around,” said Grigson.  “You block it out and take out the bits and pieces that seem like they could possibly hold some weight and legitimacy.  For the most part, the hay’s in the barn.”

 

What figured to be a choice-free night happened as Indianapolis saw Cleveland trade the 26th overall pick obtained for Trent Richardson to select quarterback Johnny Manziel.

 

The Colts will have picks in rounds two and three on Friday, along with selections in rounds five through seven on Saturday.  Barring trades, that would put the club’s roster at 76 players, meaning it could reach agreements with 14 others to reach the 90-man roster size.

 

AFC SOUTH 2014 DRAFT CHOICES ENTERING THURSDAY

No.

Team (2013 W-L)

Round (Overall draft spot)

11

Houston (2-14)

1(1); 2(33); 3(65); 4(101); 4(135); 5(141); 6(177); 6(181); 6(211); 7(216); 7(256)

11

Jacksonville (4-12)

1(3); 2(39); 3(70); 4(105); 4(114); 5(144); 5(150); 5(159); 6(179); 6(205); 7(222)

6

Tennessee  (7-9)

1(11); 2(42); 4(112); 5(151); 6(186); 7(228)

5

Colts (11-5)

2(59); 3(90); 5(166); 6(203); 7(232)

 

Speaking before the first round, Grigson anticipated the face of the AFC South changing as Houston and Jacksonville had 11 choices, while Tennessee, the division runner up to Indianapolis, had six selections.

 

Each team owned choices in the first 11 slots, and they held to form as Houston chose South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. 

 

The Texans moved to a 3-4 defense three years ago, a scheme change that helped lead to two division titles.  The Texans replaced Mario Williams and Connor Barwin with Whitney Mercilus and Brooks Reed, and Clowney’s drafting continues a heavy history of defensive selections.

 

“I’m ready to live up to (expectations),” said Clowney, who will play under new coach Bill O’Brien and coordinator Romeo Crennel.  “I’m not (worried) about what people say about me.  I know how I am.  I approach the game the way I want to.  I’m going to take my game to the next level, go out there and just play.”

 

Jacksonville, the only other team in the division besides the Colts without a new head coach, chose quarterback Blake Bortles of Central Florida.  Bortles (6-4, 230) had a 50:16 TD:interception ratio and joins a Jaguars position group that includes veteran Chad Henne.

 

“I’m so excited I can’t wait to get to Jacksonville and get back to playing football and competing, doing everything I can to be the best I can be,” said Bortles.  “Getting in there, getting back to football, learning everything and doing everything to the best of my capabilities, it’s all I’ve ever done.  I had no idea what was going to happen.  It’s indescribable.”

 

The Jaguars made the move after suffering a draft setback with Blaine Gabbert, and they also now compete minus running back Maurice Jones-Drew.  The selection of Bortles can be a nice addition to a number of moves that have bolstered the defense.

 

“(He’s) strong, physical, (has a) big arm, can hang in there in take a hit!  (He’s the) prototype size and can move pocket,” said coordinator Jedd Fisch.

 

Tennessee chose Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan in the 11th slot, adding him one year after taking guard Chance Warmack and just after importing tackle Michael Oher in free agency.

 

It is the fourth straight year Tennessee has taken an offensive player in the first round, a streak that includes quarterback Jake Locker in 2011.  Some observers thought Tennessee, under new coach Ken Whisenhunt, would address the position with its top choice.

 

Lewan started 48-of-50 games at Michigan, 13 at left tackle last year, and adds further depth to a line that includes veteran Michael Roos.

 

The Colts went 6-0 in the division last year, wresting the crown back from Houston after a two-year lull.

 

Grigson, who said Thursday he put “some lines in the water to keep communication open,” now will be ready to spring forward on Friday.

 

The Colts pick 59th and 90th overall as rounds two and three unfold.  Grigson had hoped for a run of quarterbacks to be taken in the first round, but only Bortles, Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota, 32nd) heard their names called.

 

Grigson said plans are formed for those Friday picks, but the unpredictable nature of the draft can alter intentions.

 

“We have a plan right now, but, again, it’s an inexact day,” said Grigson.  “There could be a player that falls who we never thought in a million years would fall.  The three guys we think are going to be there could be all gone, or we might find a last-minute piece of information.  It doesn’t always happen.  I’ve been in draft rooms where it does, where you get some intel at the last minute that could turn you off or on to someone. 

 

“Things change, and you have to be able to adapt.  You have to be fluid in your thinking.  You have to be able to roll with the punches so you can secure a good player that has significant value where you’re picking.”


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