Pollak Surprised, Pleased to be Colts' First 2008 NFL Draft Selection
INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Pollak didn't expect the events of Saturday evening.
That said, he hardly could have been happier with them.
Pollak, an offensive lineman from Arizona State, learned around 8:30 p.m. that he would not only be a first-day selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, but that he was going to a team with one of the NFL's top offenses.
And it's a team for which he'll get a chance to start.
The Colts, with the 28th selection of the second round and the 59th selection overall, chose Pollak, who was generally considered one of the top centers available in the draft.
Pollak will play guard for the Colts, club President Bill Polian said.
"I'm so excited right now," Pollak said in a conference call with Indianapolis media a few minutes after his selection. "I'm so pumped to be coming to be a Colt.
"This is something that sort of really shocked me. It was a big surprise."
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy told him shortly after his selection he will get a chance to compete for a starting position at guard, Pollak said.
"Mike played center at Arizona State, but really the type of offense they ran you saw him do a lot of the things we ask our guards to do," Dungy said.
"That's what Coach Dungy said, that they're going to give me the opunity for a spot," Pollak said. "That's what I'm going to come in looking to do, just come in and compete."
Jake Scott, who started at right guard for the Colts from 2004-2007, signed with the Tennessee Titans an unrestricted free agent earlier this off-season.
"We felt like the need line intersected with the talent line," Polian said. "We lost Jake in free agency, so this gives us a player who can step in and – if not start – certainly be a very quality backup for us. He's right out of the mold of the type of player we've had success with on the offensive line.
"It's high for us for an offensive lineman. In this draft, he merited that choice."
Colts center Jeff Saturday is a 10-year veteran who has made the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons, and starting left guard Ryan Lilja recently re-signed with the team.
"He's a lot like Jeff Saturday and a lot like Ryan Lilja – the guys that we've had success with here," Dungy said. "We think we're going to be able to slide him over to guard with no problem at all and he's a guy who could be a backup center as well. He really fills a couple of needs for us. He's a good player. It was pretty exciting for us.
"It's one of those where at the end of the day we're pretty happy."
Polian said while Pollak can play center, the Colts didn't make the selection Saturday to find a potential replacement for Saturday.
"He can play center if he had to," Polian said. "We don't see that as an issue. He's going to going to go play guard and we'll see how he does at guard. That's where he's going to start and hopefully play a good bit. This is not an issue of replacing Jeff. It's an issue of replacing Jake on the squad.
"It gives us a fellow we believe can play at a very high level to replace a guy we lost in free agency."
Pollak (6-feet-3, 293 pounds) started 13 games at center each of the past two seasons. He was an All-Pac 10 selection as a senior and a second-team selection as a junior.
"You have such a great team, with Peyton Manning," Pollak said. "You've got a Hall of Famer in Jeff Saturday. That's my first, initial thought."
Pollak, who said he played guard at times in college, said while the Colts showed interest in him before the draft, "but I figured I would be drafted more as a center and the Colts have such a great center in Jeff Saturday.
"But they want to bring me in as more of a guard and I'm totally flexible with that," he said.