Colts Could Use Quality Depth Pretty Much Everywhere on the Roster, Polian Says
INDIANAPOLIS – Bill Polian mentioned no names.
Polian, entering his 12th season as the Colts' president, said on Friday afternoon during his annual pre-draft availability that as has been the case in recent seasons, he didn't want to get into the area of discussing specific players of interest.
What he did discuss was depth. He said the Colts need it.
And there aren't really any specific places on the roster where it's more true than others.
"Pretty much everywhere," Polian said as he and the Colts' personnel staff went through the final stages of preparation for the 2009 NFL Draft, which will be held Saturday and Sunday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
"You can never have enough quality depth, and while I think we are a pretty good team top to bottom, I'm not sure we're a 53-man team at this point in time, which is always what we strive to be. We're close, but I don't know that we're there. Virtually every position could use some quality depth. There's a difference between names on the depth chart and people who can win in the National Football League.
"That's what the process is all about – trying to identify those players."
The Colts this season hold the No. 27 selection of the first round, and including a fourth-round compensatory selection, they have eight selections: one in the first round, one in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, one in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Jim Caldwell, who in January succeeded Tony Dungy as head coach after seven seasons as an assistant, also spoke on the draft Friday afternoon, saying his year as the Colts' associate head coach this past season helped him prepare for draft preparations.
"For the most part, when you look at what we've done from a personnel side – roster management and things of that nature are more of a collective agreement between us," Caldwell said. "We look at it, see our needs and discuss those things with everybody."
Polian said the team had targeted about a half-dozen players as potential first-round selections, but he also said the team's approach is as it always has been – that the seven-round draft and collegiate free agency must be seen as a whole.
"I've always said it's a seven-round-plus-collegiate-free-agent process," Polian said. "It is a lengthy process and we hope when it's all over we hope that virtually everyone that we've signed has an opunity."
Polian has one of the NFL's best draft records since taking over as the Colts' president, with five of his nine first-round selections combining to play in 21 Pro Bowls.
"This isn't an exact science," Polian said. "You're not going to bat .600, much less 1.000. We all make mistakes."
Polian also discussed several other draft-related topics:
• The perceived need for defensive tackles in the draft. The Colts released defensive tackle Ed Johnson early last season and Quinn Pitcock retired unexpectedly early in training camp. "We lost Pitcock and Big Ed, who we felt had essentially answered the questions for us," Polian said. "It's probably an area we could use a guy or two."
• The departure of free agent defensive tackle Darrell Reid. Polian said his departure won't influence how the Colts approach the position on draft day. "Darrell Reid was really not a defensive tackle for us," Polian said. "He was an outstanding special teams player. We didn't view him as such (a defensive tackle)."
• The loss of free-agent running back Dominic Rhodes, whose departure Polian said also wouldn't influence the draft-day approach. "I think we have people on the squad who can play," he said. "I don't think it forces us to take a running back."
• How much a failed drug test would influence how a team judged a player. "It's all part of a larger mosaic," he said. "Because a player tests positive does not necessarily remove him from consideration. . . . We do look at the total picture and say, 'Given the positives and the negatives, this player is one we feel is good for the Colts and this player is not.' We don't make it solely on that one particular instance."