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NFL Draft: Third-Day Value High

Posted May 10, 2014

Indianapolis fortified its offense with selections at guard and wide receiver in the first two rounds. The draft concludes Saturday and gives way to collegiate free agency. It remains one of the most critical times to shape a roster.



INDIANAPOLIS – While some of the fanfare of the NFL Draft has subsided after two days, three rounds, 100 picks and almost eight hours of in-round action, none of the importance has waned for any team.

 

Certainly not for the Colts, who were the last team to enact a choice when they spent the 59th selection on guard Jack Mewhort of Ohio State.

 

With the start of round four just moments away, Indianapolis enters Saturday with picks in rounds five through seven (166th, 203rd, 232nd), and it is the next chance to stock a roster for a team in search of a third playoff spot under the regime of Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano.

 

Counting this year, Grigson and Pagano have combined to be in 30 drafts.  It is a period long enough to know the big-time value of Day Three when starters can be found and critical depth is needed.

 

It is often said this is the day when scouts earn their money.

 

“There’s definitely deep spots in the draft,” said Grigson.  “There’s a good handful of really good players that are going to be available for the taking.  We are going to really focus on that.”

 

There are 17 players on the current roster who are Colts draft picks, 12 coming during Grigson’s tenure. 

 

Those coming after the third round are Robert Mathis, Pat McAfee, Josh Chapman, Vick Ballard, LaVon Brazill, Chandler Harnish, Khaled Holmes and Montori Hughes.

 

While the league certainly is more dotted by performers taken in early rounds, a talent like Mathis has become one of only 30 players with 100-plus career sacks.  Six Pro Bowls have accompanied Mathis’ accomplishments.

 

The is not a five- or nine-man group needed to field basketball or baseball teams, sports where rosters loom around 11 or 24 total players.

 

This is the greatest team sport where 22 performers and two specialists are needed. 

 

Players remain on every team’s draft boards, and most teams have separate boards where players forecast to be available after the draft’s 256 choices reside.

 

Grigson has called the draft an inexact science.  The depiction is proved with players like Mathis or Adam Vinatieri, who was not drafted in 1996.  Vinatieri is the NFL’s fifth-leading scorer with 2,006 points.

 

The hay is coming out of the barn.  One hundred picks have been spent.  There are 156 to be made today, then the mad-dash of collegiate free agency ensues as teams try to reach the NFL-allowed roster size of 90 players.

 

“We’re going to try to get those guys we covet who are still sitting on that front board of ours and go after them with guns blazing,” said Grigson.  “We look beyond the 53(-man roster), we look beyond that.  We want to be able to acquire the best possible players, even the backend of those guys that are even ‘C-type’ free agents.”

 

Vinatieri was a ‘C-type’ who has a chance to make it to Canton.  Ditto Mathis, and Grigson said before the draft that he challenged his staff to be thorough and have conviction about landing players with every choice and by every avenue.

 

For some players, all it takes is a chance.

 

“You still want those guys,” said Grigson.  “There’s all different types, whether it be a guy that has an adequate skill set across the board, but has off-the-charts football acumen and recall of the scheme. 

 

"Those types of guys can make a splash in camp as well, just for doing things the right way, being where they’re supposed to be and being in the right spot to make a play.  Some guys are ultra-talented.”


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