INDIANAPOLIS —Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on Friday night joined Colts.com's Jeffrey Gorman on 1075 The Fan's coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft to discuss the team's selections of wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and running back Jonathan Taylor.
Here is that conversation in its entirety, which you can listen to above:
Starting out the draft action with wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC — what is your first impression?
Irsay: "Well there's no question that this guy has some Reggie Wayne qualities. He is a big target with outstanding hands, runs well. And, to be honest with you, I just think he just so much fits in the mold of a Colt on and off the field. I think our fans are gonna love him, and the thing about it is, you have to understand how excited everyone was — Coach Reich, Chris Ballard, all the scouts — I mean everyone had Pittman as saying, 'That's the guy that makes the biggest impact for us,' Pittman, Michael Pittman. And spoke to Michael; just a tremendous young man. And I think our head's swirling here somewhat, because we never thought we'd see Pittman and (Jonathan) Taylor together like this, and still be holding the picks that we hold, because that was our dream scenario, is Taylor and Pittman."
You moved up in the draft to get running back Jonathan Taylor out of Wisconsin. You already have Marlon Mack, so some might say they didn't see this coming:
Irsay: "Well I'll tell ya, we had some really, really good intel about a team our Colts fans know a little bit about that was gonna take (Taylor) if we didn't, and so we talked about sitting tight — I didn't like the idea, and Chris didn't and Coach (Reich) didn't. I think that, you know, it just really was something that, honestly, when I look at it, to have them both is incredible, and we were talking about sitting tight, but once it started drifting it was very aware in our minds that, like, once you got 42 and past, it was gonna start changing and you're banking more on potential, you're banking more on athletic ability, etc. But we really feel we have two football players that are ready to be guys that play on Sunday — immediately."
That sounds like the former GM in Jim Irsay talking right there:
Irsay: "Well, I'll tell ya, one thing I'll say about Michael Pittman — and I mean this — I've been talking to players for almost 50 years when we pick 'em, and this guy right away wanted to call Philip Rivers and get to work. I mean, literally, on the phone call. I've never had anyone ask me that before, and I've talked to all our top picks. And it was incredible; I mean, he's the only guy who has ever said, 'Can you give me his number right now?' I said, 'Yeah, Michael, I'll get it to ya in about five minutes.' And so I ya, Colts Nation, we couldn't be more excited. You have no idea how much we feel that we're a better football team, and you talk about Philip Rivers, DeForest Buckner, you talk about Xavier Rhodes, you talk about Michael Pittman and Jonathan Taylor — I mean, we were on the cusp of some things last year, and this gives us a chance to put it over the top. And I know Colts fans are wise out there and they know how running backs can come in and make a different right away, immediately, like Marshall Faulk did, like Edgerrin James did, and I'm not putting Jonathan in that category, obviously — that's a long way to climb those rungs to earn it — but, I tell ya, running backs make a quick impact, and also Colts fans know running backs touch the ball more than anyone else. And whenever you take a back, you're already saying, 'Hey, this guy's gonna handle the ball more than anyone else on the field except the quarterback.' And with Pittman, I mean, everyone knows the situation: I mean, we have Parris Campbell coming back, and of course T.Y. (Hilton) is the bellcow of the core, and has been for many years, and (Zach) Pascal is really, really an outstanding young player, and so, you know, we like some of the other young guys, but, boy, I tell you, we really needed a guy like this on our roster, a guy that you know is gonna be there four years and hopefully beyond. And I tell ya, I don't always say this, but we couldn't be more excited. I mean, just really, really excited, because when it started and we were getting ready to go early, around 6:30 or so, we just didn't know what would happen. And we did some exploration — we were looking to see, could we get a one (first-round pick) next year, and that wasn't in the cards — so we said, 'OK, which guys do we really want, and how do we get them?' And thankfully Michael Pittman came to us, and then thankfully, we moved up and swapped a five to get Taylor, because he wasn't going to be there at 44."
First round, we'll call it DeForest Buckner (after the trade), second round it's Pittman Jr. and Taylor — so far so good as far as the Colts' draft is concerned?
Irsay: "We couldn't be more excited about it. Sixteen million people around this country just really was excited to get back to some present-day sports event, and we hope it's been entertaining and continues to be entertaining to all of our fans that are disciplining themselves with the quarantine and all those things. It gets a little long and weary, but weekends like this make it worth it. And I know Colts fans, we're going to be out there this year and it's gonna be special. So just hold that faith, and that's what it about, is knowing and having that positive faith that these guys are gonna be in Lucas Oil (Stadium) lighting it up in front of the best fans in the world."