INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Grigson came to Indianapolis last January 11 as general manager after 13 years in personnel capacities with St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Grigson rose through the personnel ranks by starting as a national scout with the Rams in 1999. He was moved to an area scout in 2001, a role he held for three years before joining Philadelphia.
Grigson was a western regional scout with Philadelphia from 2004-05 before serving for four years (2006-09) as the Eagles' director of college scouting. An intuitive talent evaluator for years, Grigson was promoted to the director of player personnel with Philadelphia in 2010.
Grigson has risen to a prominent position with Indianapolis and while this week's selection process will find him in new locale, he will be operating out of a familiar environment – the draft room.
He is an established veteran of the scouting procedure that leads to the draft, a critical event that brings to a boil a year's worth of scouring potential players. The number of man hours to reach the draft is impossible to quantify. The team's scouts and personnel officials have been at crossing the country for the past year, and they have been on-site in recent weeks gearing for the three-day draft that will define a portion of the team's future.
Grigson has worked his way through many positions through the years, and he embraces the value of opinion and input in the process. Asked early in his time with the Colts if he ever could recall taking a bold stand for a player when asked, Grigson recalled such a moment in his past.
"Just the kind of person that I am, I am going to throw you a name that no one is going to know. A guy, we didn't even draft him but it was the first time I ever had to step up and stand on a table and fight for a player," said Grigson. "His name was Kole Ayi, and he played at UMass. I actually saw him at an airport coincidently a few years ago and we locked eyes and he was like, 'Hey.'
"After my first draft we were out for dinner and our general manager in St. Louis asked if anyone had a 'will' linebacker. It was the day after the draft, pickings are real slim at that point. I kind of just said, 'I have one.' No one else was saying anything. Long story short, he ended up making our 53(-man roster).
"That was kind of a moment in my career that I actually got reinforcement for people around me that (told me), 'Hey good job, you spoke up when you had a chance, and you hit on a player.' That is how I tell the young guys, 'If you want to move up, you want to do this, you want to do that then step up. Show some confidence in your opinion. You did all the work. You spent all that time away from your family. You did all these things. If you have a chance to speak, speak.' "