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How Do The Colts Approach Building Diverse Position Groups?

Rex Hogan, the Indianapolis Colts’ vice president of player personnel, chatted with this week from the Senior Bowl about his approach to scouting, evaluating a couple up-and-coming 2017 rookies and also answers fans questions.


MOBILE, Ala. —Rex Hogan likens it to finding the right starting five in basketball.

As the Indianapolis Colts continue building and reshaping their roster now in general manager Chris Ballard's second season with the team, the ultimate hope is to acquire and maintain a diverse collection of talent within each position group.

At wide receiver, for example, you need a smaller point guard-type who can play in the slot and find openings in the defense; you need a shooting guard-type who has the size to work well in traffic; and then you need the big bodies who can be counted on deep and in the post.

Hogan, who talked with this week from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., talked about a variety of topics as he continues collecting notes on the top prospects heading into April's NFL Draft, and also took fan questions, like this one on roster versatility:

"It gives you more versatility in terms of running routes and what you can throw at the defense," Hogan said, expanding on his thoughts about versatility at the wide receiver position. "And I think the same thing for the defensive back in terms of you have to have a nickel corner who can match that point guard-type player, and then you also have to have the big guys on the outside who can cover the bigger, longer wide receivers in terms of the Xs and the Zs."

Here's the rest of our conversation this week with Hogan, the Colts' Vice President of Player Personnel:

On what his schedule is like the week of the Senior Bowl:"Initially on Sunday, scouts get in early, players arrive. So Sunday, the majority of the day once players will get checked in and get through their testing is an opportunity for us to sit down and get face-to-face with these players for the first time. So Sunday, when they arrive, it starts the week in term of our initial interviews with the players, and then the rest of the scouting staff will arrive and player personnel, we get a chance throughout Monday as players arrive and the rest of the scouting staff arrives we get to interview again and spend more time with them at different levels. They have formal interview times blocked out for you as well as informal, and there's not a set time in terms of how much time you can spend with a player. But we'll sit down with them, a couple of us or individually, and really get a feel for these guys and their personality and their understanding and football intelligence."**

On the importance of face-to-face interviews with prospects:** "You can see how quickly they react and think on their feet in terms of their responses, because you can hit them with a multiple (angle) of questions, so to speak, and come from different angles with multiple guys in there asking questions. You know, you can fire questions at him and see how quickly they react and can respond, and you get a kind of depth of what their football intelligence is, and initially what their background is and what they've experienced in life. So it's a good opportunity for us, and it's the initial stage of sitting down with them before you get to the Combine, pro days and whether or not you bring them in on visits to the facility."On what you expect to get with a top pick in the upcoming NFL draft: "An impact player. Somebody who's going to make an impact either offensively or defensively, kind of similar to (how) we were fortunate to get Leonard at the No. 6 spot when I was in New York, and being at (No.) 3, hopefully we can get a player with that same type of ability and impact, whether it be on the offensive or the defensive side of the ball for us with the Colts."On what he saw out of 2017 draft picks Quincy Wilson and Tarell Basham:
"Just talking about the transition, guys coming into the league, expectations are for him to come in and light it on fire quickly. And it doesn't always happen that way, but Q stepped in towards the end of the season and progressed and has developed exactly for what we've hoped. I think the future's bright with him: he's a big corner who can play multiple types of coverage, so once we find out who our new defensive coordinator is, new head coach is, and what we're going to do from a schematic standpoint, Q's going to be able to fit in whatever we run. And same thing with Bash; Bash has shown versatility in college as a defensive end, and then came to us as an outside backer, and has played well when he's hand to stand up or with his hand down. So both those guys, the arrow's going up, and I think they adjusted very well throughout the course of the season, got a feel for the NFL game and really started to produce towards the end of the season for us."

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