INDIANAPOLIS — Kevin Rogers, the Indianapolis Colts' Director of Pro Personnel, recently sat down with Colts.com's Larra Overton and discussed how the team goes about its draft process between the scouting and coaching staffs, the value of the NFL Scouting Combine, how the Colts build their board and more.
Here is that conversation, which you can watch in its entirety above:
How much do you weigh the previous season and the result of that season when you're leading up to the NFL Draft?
Rogers: "After the season we assess the roster, see where we're at; free agency, we kind of figure out our targets; and then it's a factor when you get into the draft prep. But at the end of the day you want to line the draft board up the way it's supposed to fall, and let that kind of guide you. You don't want to draft based on need; you want to draft based on talent, and unless there's a clear difference in talent level, you take the need. But if there's a clear better player, you take the player."
What is the value of the NFL Scouting Combine in terms of that entire evaluation process?
Rogers: "Well, obviously the numbers are important. But I think the bigger part is it's the first time your coaches really (can) get their hands on the prospects, get to meet them, poke and prod, kind of see what they know, push their character. And then, really, the biggest part for us is getting the medical evaluations done; it's the one time we get a massive group of players with our doctors to get their hands on all of them and see where they're at from that standpoint."
Looking at the talent available in this year's draft, what are the strengths of this class?
Rogers: "You know, there's a long way to go — March is really the big month where things really come into focus (and) you get the numbers. There are definitely some spots where it seems a little bit deeper this year than recent drafts, but we'll have to wait and see where it shakes out from here."
How collaborative is this entire process? How much are the different facets working together in terms of evaluating prospects and building the board?
Rogers: "It's hard to imagine a draft process being more collaborative than the one we have here. Obviously all the college guys have had their say in February; now the coaches, they've been given their cross-checks, so they're going to get the chance to have their say (and) they're meeting the players. You know, the numbers come into play, so we'll get our analytics crew, they'll be involved, and then, again, we'll go through the tape two more times — one time in March, one time in April — as a group, with Chris (Ballard) leading the charge, and we all get a chance to speak our peace."
From the scouting staff to the coaching staff, what are you looking to see from the prospects to convince you that they could be an asset to the Colts' roster and locker room?
Rogers: "You know, for one, from a locker room standpoint, you want good teammates — guys that are gonna be accountable, that are going to be unselfish. From a representing the Horseshoe standpoint, you want guys that are gonna be good citizens. If they've made a mistake, do they take accountability? Do they take ownership of the mistake? And then do you feel like they're going to move on from the mistake? And if the answer is yes, then you take a chance."
What is the most exciting aspect of this time period overall that the draft process brings your staff?
Rogers: "You know, it gets more fun as you go along, and the hay gets put in the barn — you get all the numbers, you get all the medical, the coaches know the players. I think when you can finally speak the same language, everybody's caught up with what the player is and you can compare apples to oranges and the value, that's when it really gets fun."