INDIANAPOLIS – A year's worth of scouting and evaluation boils down annually to three days where teams can pick from the litter of the collegiate draft-eligible players.
Indianapolis did that successfully in 2012 – the first year of the Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano regime – landing players nearly through the duration of the process that helped the club rebound from 2-14 to 11-5.
It was one of the most dramatic one-season turnarounds in the NFL's 90-plus seasons.
Indianapolis this past weekend supplemented its roster with seven more players obtained through the draft.
The Colts selected linebacker Bjoern Werner with the 24th overall pick, then addressed roster needs by tabbing offensive linemen (Hugh Thornton, Khaled Holmes) with the next two choices. The club followed by taking help on the defensive line, secondary, running back/special teams and tight end.
Grigson and Pagano spoke at the conclusion of the effort and were pleased with the haul. It was a haul that came through conviction.
"We would talk and have discussions, Chuck (Pagano) and I and the staff, with every pick and before every pick, and we would always come full circle," said Grigson. "We stay true to our board at the end of the day."
Being "true to the board" means honoring a year's worth of homework by not grasping in fleeting seconds.
Teams invest hours and dollars almost beyond calculation to get ready for the draft, using the human equation of on-site scouting analysis and relationships to identify prospects that will fit a specific system.
Draft boards are set up in the weeks leading into the draft. Scouts who have covered areas thoroughly through the year contribute to the construction of the board, and the best organizations coordinate the process with inclusion.
"Sometimes he (Pagano) would remind me of it, other times I would remind him of it," said Grigson of the board. "You start looking at every angle because you're just hashing it out because you might have guys that are all close on that board.
"You've got to stick to your board like we did last year, and that's what we did this year. We feel good that we stayed disciplined, and, usually, you end up being pretty happy at the end of the day because you stayed disciplined to your board."
Prior to the draft, Grigson estimated the synergy between the coaching and personnel staffs was "a 10" when it came to a coordination of opinion on prospects.
A man of his words, Pagano on Saturday seconded the practice of inclusion as it relates to obtaining players.
"When you're pulling these guys off the board and you're evaluating and you're getting ready to select a guy, you're going to obviously factor in, 'Okay, how are we going to use this guy? Where does he fit? How are we going to get him on the field?' All of the things I think that you're asking, we go through that process," said Pagano. "We basically take a look at these guys and, again, you stay true to the board.
"There were times a year ago where there was a guy that we coveted and was on the board and there was a need player and then we looked over and went full circle again and Dwayne Allen is sitting there. We really needed this guy but Dwayne was rated higher. So Dwayne falls in our lap and he's still there."
Allen was taken though the club had selected Coby Fleener from the same position group in the previous round. The addition of both helped the Colts' overall haul in the process.
How this year plays out remains to be seen. It is one of the great questions asked every year. Staying true to the board provides the best chance.