INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Grigson came to Indianapolis on January 11, and Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay extolled his new general manager's evaluation talents.
Grigson is three months and one week into his tenure. His first draft as an NFL general manager is eight days away. His team has the first pick in the draft. Draft observers nationwide have speculated for weeks which quarterback – Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III – the Colts will take.
Speaking to local media on Wednesday, Grigson indicated the majority of the hay is in the barn.
"We've exhausted the process," said Grigson on the evaluations of Luck and Griffin. "We've pretty much made up our mind, and we're going to go from there. We feel really good about it."
When will he tip his hand?
"April 26," said the first-year general manager.
Indianapolis owns 10 selections in the draft and earned the top overall pick with a 2-14 record in 2011. The Colts earned the top spot over St. Louis. The Rams shared a 2-14 mark, and the Colts are ready to make the top overall choice in the draft for the fourth time in 29 years in Indianapolis.
"It's been a little while," said Grigson of the certainty of the direction involving the player to be taken. "We've known for a little while. We've done all our due diligence. If there is any unforeseen problem or anything like that, we're pretty sure what we want to do, what direction we want to go. Barring an unforeseen event, we know what we're doing."
Grigson has served in personnel circles with St. Louis (1999-2003) and Philadelphia (2004-11), the last two years as director of player personnel. The Rams and Eagles teams with which he has worked made the playoff in nine of 13 seasons, eight times posting 10 victories and reaching four conference championship games and three Super Bowls. Thus, Grigson has been accustomed to selecting a little lower in the first-round.
"This is my first time. I've always wanted it," said Grigson of having the top pick. "It's been on my list of things to do, but it's kind of fallen by the wayside. I don't think that I've picked anywhere near the top. I've been on like maybe two teams with losing records since I've been doing this for 12 years or so. I've always been toward the bottom. It's been a little different."
Should the choice come down to Luck or Griffin, the Colts would be getting a signal-caller who achieved greatness on the collegiate level.
Luck, 6-4, 235, directed Stanford to an 11-2 record in 2011 and a second straight BCS Bowl appearance. He completed 288-of-404 passes for 3,517 yards and 37 touchdowns. For his career, Luck completed 713-of-1,064 passes for 9,430 yards, with 82 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He set school marks in touchdown passes, completion percentage (68.7), passing efficiency (162.76) and total offense (10,387), while ranking second in passing yardage. Luck earned a 31-7 starting record. His career wins and winning percentage are school marks, and he led Stanford to three bowl appearances. Luck helped Stanford to three consecutive seasonal scoring records (461, 2009; 524, 2010; 561, 2011) and to 40-plus points 17 times. He hit for three or more touchdowns in 15 of 38 starts and for four scores in seven outings. The Cardinal had seven consecutive losing seasons prior to Luck starting in 2009. The school then posted 8-5, 12-1 and 11-2 records.
Griffin, 6-2 and three-eights, 223, capped off an illustrious three-year career at Baylor by leading his school to a 10-3 record and its first bowl victory in 19 seasons. Griffin won the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards. In 2011, he hit 291-of-402 passes for 4,293 yards, with 37 touchdowns and six interceptions, while rushing 179 times for 699 yards and 10 scores. For his career, Griffin set or tied 54 school records in starting 40 of 41 games in three seasons. He hit 800-of-1,192 passes for 10,366 yards, with 78 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, while rushing 528 times for 2,254 yards and 33 scores. He is one of three FBS players with 10,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards. Griffin had five of the nine 400 passing games in school history, and he set 26 seasonal, 20 career and eight single-game records.
With previous top overall picks, Indianapolis selected quarterbacks twice. The last time was Peyton Manning in 1998 and if the choice this time is a quarterback, Grigson would not see either Griffen or Luck having trouble adapting to the league.
"I don't want to get really into any specifics about them," said Grigson. "Like I've said before, both those guys have tremendous intangibles. Their skill sets are both so outstanding that I don't see how either of them are not tremendously successful in this league."
As the possible choice would relate to Colts fans, Grigson knows both would do well in succeeding Manning and the large shadow he cast with his notable accomplishments over 13 seasons.
"Oh, yeah. These guys are both two very, very confident guys," said Grigson. "They're really pretty much unflappable. (They're) very intelligent. Deep down, both these guys want to be great. They'll never come out and say that they want to be better than this person or that person. They have the right make-up that they want to be the best. I have no doubt about that."
Grigson noted the team did not have Griffin visit Indianapolis as it did with Luck. Each team is limited to 30 visits, and a portion of those are used for players who did not attend the Combine.
Without the visit, Grigson says the team is comfortable with the work it has done.
"We feel really good about where we're at with both of them," said Grigson. "There comes a certain point where you don't want to do something just for the sake of doing something."
Indianapolis is free to negotiate with its choice should it wish to do so. That is not part of the current mix at the moment.
"We've kicked it around. I don't know what the true advantage is at this point," said Grigson. "We'll see. We're focused right now on picking the guys. That (negotiations) will take care of itself."