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The club’s 2012 draft class will be one year old as the draft starts later today. A number of draftees made solid contributions a year ago, and they found experience to be a definite teacher.





INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis held the first and last pick in the 2012 draft and nearly from top-to-bottom, the club's selections made major contributions.

The Colts are scheduled to select tonight with the 24th overall pick, and the club certainly will end the process on Saturday with the 254th selection.

Andrew Luck started the draft off last year for the Colts, and he authored one of the most successful rookie seasons ever. 

In setting NFL rookie marks with 627 attempts, 4,374 yards, six 300-yard games and seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, he learned a great deal about the NFL.

"I think finding your routine and finding the best, most efficient way to go about things is important," said Luck of last year.  "Having your coaches help you with that, watching the older players, whether it's taking care of your body, or staying fresh, or your mind, just finding a routine that works for you to get you best prepared is important."

The Colts followed in rounds two and three by taking tight ends consecutively, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen.

Each learned lessons, too.

"I guess the impact of a system on a player's statistics (is what I learned)," said Fleener, who had two touchdowns among 26 receptions.  "Coming in I had high expectations, statistics-wise, but I ended up playing a different role than I had in college.  I was fine with that.  We were winning games. 

"It was interesting to see how much a different system could affect the individual outcome of a season."

Allen had 45 receptions and three touchdowns, gaining insights about the game at its highest level.

"I learned to respect the game, to respect those who paved the way for you to have the opportunity to play.  That's what I learned off the field," said Allen.  "On the field, it was to take care of your body and how to do that.  You go through college and you think you're doing the right things and eating the right way and stretching enough. 

"When you have rip off 17 games, it really, really puts a strain on your body.  You make sure you're taking care of your body the right way.  It's not that I didn't respect the process, but I gained a deeper appreciation for it. 

"Any time you learn the history of something, you should walk away with a deeper appreciation.  That's something I've been able to do in experiencing everything I did last year."

Vick Ballard kept his head on straight last year and led the club with 814 rushing yards.  He credited hard work and realizing even seasoned pros were just human beings.  The key to success was not to be out-worked.

Chandler Harnish was the last pick in the 2012 draft.  On the active roster for five games before finishing on the practice squad, there was a distinctly different feel than in college.

"It's a man's game, definitely.  Every day, you're fighting for a job," said Harnish.  "There are guys here who have three, four, five kids.  They've been on different teams, so every day is important for them.  (Then), you have a guy like me who is single and is trying to find his way. 

"You have to come to work every, single day.  There's no such thing as a day off.  It's very complex.  It's mental.  If you learn to manage that and study, you can succeed."

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