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Preseason Finale Provides One Final Audition For 75 Colts

Intro: Thursday’s preseason finale won’t push the needle for many fans but don’t tell that to the 75 players fighting for a roster spot. What could Thursday mean to those on the fringe of making the team?


INDIANAPOLIS – As the preseason finale carries into the second half on Thursday night, even the most diehard of Colts fans might shift their attention elsewhere.

For Ryan Grigson and his staff, those final 30 minutes in Cincinnati could be the difference in roster spots 51, 52 and 53.

The Colts will have less than 48 hours following the final gun in Cincinnati to make 22 roster cuts.

The backend of the roster is something Grigson has always had a strong affinity towards building.

This offseason, Grigson was adamant that the extra two weeks during the 2014 draft process was spent looking at the prospects who probably wouldn’t hear their names called in the 256 picks.

"I think after the draft (and) with the depth of this draft, I feel that's really an area to really target," Grigson said at his pre-draft press conference.

"We're going to really streamline that process, go and try to get those guys we covet who are still sitting on that front board of ours and go after them with guns blazing to hopefully create that top 61-man roster with the practice squad."

The number has grown to 63 with the recent news of 10 practice squad eligible players for the 2014 season.

That's music to Grigson's ears, judging by how extensively he's used the practice squad/final few roster spots in his Colts tenure.

Names like Delano Howell and Bradley Sowell in 2012 went on to play key roles as UDFAs. In 2013, the Colts relied on Jack Doyle, Da'Rick Rogers, Josh McNary and Xavier Nixon when injuries began to take their toll.

"It's what drives us. It's what's exciting," Grigson said in the spring on finding those hidden talents. "I really hope I never lose any of that zeal for finding those diamonds.

"That's what drove me on the road as a scout. That's what all those guys on my staff remind me of when they get excited and bring me a player."

Highlights from the Colts third preseason game against the Saints at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Through the first three games of the 2014 preseason, there are signs of the Colts personnel department's extensive work during the spring.

Center Jonotthan Harrison has ran with the first unit through nearly all of the preseason.

Cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has impressed on special teams and showed cover ability.

Nose tackle Zach Kerr has found himself in opposing backfields on several occasions.

It all goes back to a lasting message Grigson said to his staff back in May, when the Colts went to work late on that Saturday night of draft week.

"I pointed to our back board to our scouts, There's potentially a Hall-of-Famer in these names. There's potentially a Pro Bowler up there," Grigson said retelling the story.

"Every day there are success stories of college free agents who weren't drafted and they come into this (league) with a chip on their shoulder. They end up wearing a gold jacket in Canton."

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