Scheme Fit A Top Priority For Colts In 2018 Draft

Ed Dodds, the Indianapolis Colts’ Vice President of Player Personnel, this week chatted with Colts.com from the Senior Bowl about player evaluation, the promising futures of a couple 2017 Colts draft picks and and also answers fans’ questions.

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INDIANAPOLIS —Here's an obvious statement: the Indianapolis Colts will, at some point in the near-future, have a new head coach in place.

Just who that person will be officially remains unknown, but with a new head coach means a new overall approach to the Colts' offensive and defensive schemes, which will play a huge part as he assembles the coaching staff around him.

And here's another obvious statement: the 2018 NFL Draft now sits just three months away.

As it turns out, the Colts' new coaching staff and the schemes they want to employ will heavily influence the players the team pursues in the draft.

Ed Dodds, the Colts' Vice President of Player Personnel, talked with Colts.com this week from the Senior Bowl, and among the variety of topics covered included this fan question:

For Dodds, it's important not to fall in love with a certain player just because he simply is a good player; he must fit into what the coaching staff needs him to do.

"They have to fit what the coaches see, how they fit into our current system," Dodds said. "You're not going to force a guy, just because he's a great player, on a coaching staff. It won't work. You know, they have to have a vision for how he's going to be used, and used to the best of his abilities."

Here's the rest of our conversation this week with Dodds:

On what he enjoys most about the Senior Bowl:
"It's kind of your first chance to get to see a lot of these players up close, on the hoof, and also spend a lot of time with them in interviews and things like that (and) really get to know them, because you can't be at every school during the fall — you just can't time-wise — so it's good to see some guys that you heard about, get to see them up close."

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On how his staff is able to maximize its days while in Mobile:**
"In the mornings, since they changed the schedule the last couple years, it's kind of free (if) you've got other things you're working on — whether it be underclassmen that have declared early, or even some of that free time if the players are not in meetings you can grab some of your interviews then. And then you have the practices 12:30 to 4:30, and they're back to back. And after that, you grab a bite to eat, you've got a little bit of free time and then the interviews start getting cranked up, and those go 'til 11 o'clock at night. You just try to grab and talk to as many guys as you can and get to know them, because we're going to get the tape (and) we're going to have plenty of time to watch that; the biggest thing is getting to know these guys."

On if a player who wasn't really on the team's radar can become a potential target with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl:
"The way I've kind of always looked at it is if you have a certain grade on a guy and he didn't have a great week, you're not going to penalize him as much. You're still going to go back to his fall tape and watch the whole movie. But a guy that's a small-school player, kind of an under-the-radar guy, you want to see him versus better competition. If he comes here and he really shows he belongs, then you do let that help him. So, really, you don't penalize a guy for having a bad week, but if someone has a really good week, you do take into account."

On how he'd characterize the 2018 draft class:
"I really can't even answer that yet, honestly. So we'll start our draft meetings when we get back, and we'll spend three weeks and we'll go through everybody in the country with our scouts. That's when we'll get a good feel for it. I can really only speak right now on the schools I've been to, and I'm not going to give these (Senior Bowl) guys (a grade) off of two days of make-it, break-it."

On the advantages of having the No. 3-overall pick in this year's draft:
"I think it's exciting when you can have any draft pick. Kind of like you said, though, I would hope we're picking 32nd every year."On what he saw out of 2017 first-round pick Malik Hooker, who had nabbed three interceptions before suffering a season-ending knee injury Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars:"I think the future's bright. You saw his natural instincts and his ball skills show up. I mean, he just finds a way to be around the football and get his hands on the football. And he's just going to continue to grow and progress. He'll come back; he'll work hard. He'll be back."

On why he feels 2017 fifth-round pick Nate Hairston was able to take the nickel cornerback spot and run with it in his rookie year:
"He showed right away he's got two things you can't coach: he's tough and he's competitive. And that's what stood out with him. You know, I was in another draft room at the time, but we liked him for the same reasons: he's tough, he's competitive and he's got instincts.

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