Colts Will Look for Best Available Player in 2010 NFL Draft, Polian Says
INDIANAPOLIS – Bill Polian said he doesn't know exactly how things will be different this week.
And while the April 22-24 NFL Draft will be Polian's 13th as the Colts' president, he said there's a reason he can't predict what changes might take place given the league's new format of spreading the process over three days rather than two.
And the reason, he said, is pretty simple.
He's not yet experienced it.
"I've never been through it before," Polian said Wednesday afternoon during his media availability for the 2010 NFL Draft, which will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, with the first round scheduled to begin Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
"I've been through a one-day (draft) -- 14 rounds. The dynamic of that is you don't get a lot of sleep for three days, but I've never been through a three-day draft. I don't know what will transpire here.
"We'll see. I suspect not a lot (will change)."
The Colts enter the draft with eight selections, one in every round except the sixth, which they traded last season to obtain the rights to select punter Pat McAfee in the seventh round. They also have two supplemental selections in the seventh round.
Indianapolis currently holds the No. 31 selection of the first round.
Polian, speaking to the media around 4 p.m. Wednesday, said as of that time, the Colts' evaluation process for the seven-round draft was complete. There are, he said, about 115-135 players on the draft board that the team considers draft-worthy, and that there were still analyses and adjustments being made on the draft board.
Polian said the draft-management process was still ongoing, including evaluation of trade possibilities.
"More likely trading down (out of the first round), but we're going through that process, too – making calls, checking in with people, seeing what's up," Polian said. "All of that is the normal process. The one difference is obviously we won't get started until (7:30) and we won't pick – in the most optimistic setting -- until sometime past 10 o'clock. That's vastly different than it used to be.
"We have a whole day to busy ourselves, make mischief or whatever."
Polian was asked if it were possible to spend the evening monitoring the draft, then to trade out of the first round at the end of the night.
"It's very likely," he said. "It's about the whole process. If you get the right price for the pick and you think it's the right thing to do, then we'll be happy to do it. We've let the people behind us know that in the right set of circumstances we'd be perfectly willing to entertain."
Polian said the Colts would be less likely to trade up earlier in the first round.
"We have less ammunition to do so," he said.
Polian also said while he didn't have a list of specific needs, he said there were positions he would generally rule out barring unforeseen circumstances.
"I think what you do is rule out certain positions," he said. "Unless a great running back fell to you – which could happen – it's probably not an area we would look very strongly in. I think we're pretty good at tight end. Obviously, we're pretty good at receiver, but if a great one was there we wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger."
Polian said depth could be addressed at nearly every position defensively.
"We have starters returning at virtually every position on defense, but you never have enough defensive depth," he said. "Anywhere on the defense I'm sure we would strike."
Polian also said offensive line depth could be addressed.
"But my personal feeling is that contrary to perception this is not a terribly deep offensive line draft," he said. "The top guys will go off early, and then it thins out."
Polian the Colts' approach in general won't change significantly from years past, and that's that need plays less of a role in a draft selection than finding a quality player who can contribute.
"It's repetitive and we go through this every year, but we follow it pretty religiously," Polian said. "We're going to take the best football player available to us regardless of position. It doesn't matter what position he plays. If he's the best football player, we'll take him.
"When you reach for need, or for perception of need, I think you make mistakes. We're looking for the best football player we can find. If it happens to be at a position where we have other good football players, that's OK to. We'll sort that out.
"You can never have enough good football players. You can never have enough difference makers."
Polian also addressed on Wednesday several other Colts-related issues, including:
• The off-season release of defensive end Raheem Brock and offensive guard Ryan Lilja and the decision to allow longtime backup QB Jim Sorgi to go. "In Raheem's case, it was kind of mutual," Polian said. "He felt like he needed a change of scenery and we thought that was probably right. In Sorg's case, in Ryan's case, there were injury complications that clouded the future going forward. In both cases, I hope they're 100 percent fine and that they play and do well. They're great guys and we're extremely grateful for the contributions they made."
• The status of safety Bob Sanders, who missed all but two games last season with knee and biceps injuries. "Bob is fine," Polian said. "I met with him about 10 days ago. He feels good. He's making progress. We checked him stem to stern and he's fine. We're excited."
• The status of wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, who missed all but one game last season with a knee injury. "I don't know that Gonzo is 100 percent," Polian said, "but there's no anticipation he won't be."