INDIANAPOLIS — Things are getting tense at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Colts Productions tonight brought you Episode 4 of its five-part series, “With The Next Pick,” an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare for the 2019 NFL Draft. This latest installment features a deep dive into the process by which the scouts and the coaching staff work together to find the best prospects for the roster.
Need to get caught up? Want to watch every episode? You can find them all at Colts.com/NextPick, and the fifth and final episode in the series will drop at 8 p.m. next Wednesday, May 1, on the Official Colts Mobile App, @Colts on Twitter, @Colts on Instagram and on the Colts’ official Facebook page.
Without further ado, here is Part 4 in its entirety, with some key notes below:
» Previous episodes took you inside the Colts’ draft room as the scouting staff watched film and went over the various prospects they’re considering, but this episode is chock-full of many days’ worth of meetings inside that room. With the draft just around the corner, the scouts are starting to state their cases for why the Colts should pursue a certain player — or, on the flip side, why they shouldn’t be interested.
Director of College Scouting Morocco Brown, describing one prospect, says, “He’s not a deluxe athlete. He’s more fast, straight ahead than anything.”
Area Scout Mike Derice chimes in: “I just have a feeling like his body is eventually gonna break down. He’s just not a big man.”
Then Brown and general manager Chris Ballard try to balance some mental lapses in one player’s game with the other aspects he brings. “They say he makes a lot of dumb undisciplined mistakes in games where he’s out of control,” Brown says. “He’s a good-looking kid,” Ballard responds as he looks up at the game film. “But he’s the toughest player on the team,” Brown continues.
» The action then moves to the Colts’ Local Pro Day, where about 40 prospects from local hometowns and colleges got a chance to work out for the team for one final hurrah before the draft. “It’s like taking a test drive on a car before you buy it.,” Dodds said. “You just can’t take a guy without ever seeing him or talking to him. … I mean, I always feel better when I’ve seen a guy in person. … Sometimes on tape, you’re like, ‘Oh, this guy looks big,’ and then you see ‘em up close, you’re like, ‘Eh, he’s kind of a smaller man.’ … It’s just kind of that last piece. There’s no more unknowns.”
At the end of the Local Pro Day, both head coach Frank Reich and Ballard address the prospects in attendance. Reich says, “Stay in shape, right? Stay in shape, keep pursuing that. It’s gonna break. Every year it happens. I’ve been in this league 30 years, and from this group, somebody’s gonna end up playing in this league — a handful of you are gonna end up playing in this league. So make that be you. Believe it can be you, and it can be, right? Just keep working at it. We appreciate you comin’ out here, the way you worked today.”
Ballard adds: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-round pick in this league, if you’re an undrafted free agent or if you’re a tryout guy — it doesn’t matter. What matters is once you get in the building, that you perform and you produce. And no matter where you end up — whether it’s any team in the league — what matters is if you produce. And I promise, the work you put in each and every day is important. What you do and what you put on tape is important. And eventually cream rises to the top.”
» The episode concludes with an interesting look at how the coaching staff is directly involved in the prospect evaluation process. While some teams might have a GM and scouting staff that bristles at the thought of coaches trying to influence their evaluations, the Colts welcome the chance for the coaching staff to get their eyes on a potential player and give their honest takes. After all, they’re the ones tasked with doing whatever they can to make those players successful once the team selects them.
“It becomes very organic and very dynamic,” Reich says of the process.
“It’s always an interesting debate and discussion,” Ballard adds.
You see several coaches in the draft room going over the film, including Reich, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon.
» At the end of the day, Dodds says, “We’re not any smarter than anyone else. I just feel like we’re gonna outwork people.” That, in turn, will help the Colts reach their ultimate goal starting on Thursday, when the first round gets underway.
“Whether it’s need, good player — it doesn’t matter to me. It’s just, let’s get the nine good players that are gonna help us win football games,” Ballard said.