Colts Select Arizona State Offensive Lineman Mike Pollak in Second Round
INDIANAPOLIS - The Colts waited longer than all but one NFL team to make their first selection in the 2008 NFL Draft.
To Bill Polian, the wait was worth it.
The Colts, after not having a first-round draft selection for the first time in four years, made their first selection of this year's draft around 8:40 p.m. Saturday, taking offensive lineman Mike Pollak of Arizona State with the No. 28 selection of the second round, the 59th selection overall.
It was the Colts' lone selection on the first day of the 2008 NFL Draft.
"It's been a long day, but we're really happy we got the player that we wanted," said Polian, in his 11th season running the draft as the Colts' President. "We had three players on the board we could have taken, but Mike was first choice.
"We're happy we got him."
Pollak, an All-Pac 10 selection who started the past two seasons at center, will play guard with the Colts, Polian said.
The Colts entered the draft without a first-round selection after trading their 2008 first-rounder to San Francisco for a 2007 second-round selection used on offensive tackle Tony Ugoh.
Every other NFL team selected a player before Indianapolis Saturday except Cleveland, which did not select a player on Saturday.
The draft will resume Sunday at 10 a.m., with Rounds 3-7 to follow. The Colts have eight selections on Sunday – one in Round 3 (No. 30, 93 overall), one in Round 4 (No. 28, 127 overall), one in Round 5 (No. 26, 171 overall), four in Round 6 (Nos. 30, 35, 36 and 39; 196, 201, 202 and 205 overall) and one in Round 7 (No.29, 236 overall).
The team's last three sixth-round selections are compensatory selections.
"Our board is right where it is," Polian said. "We're going to stay with it. There's no need to reshuffle it. It's right on target and we'll see what transpires."
Said Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, "We kind of had it structured hoping we would get Mike. We'll just let it flow from there."
Ugoh started 10 games at left tackle for the Colts this past season, and Polian and Dungy each said they consider Ugoh a part of this year's draft class.
"We talked about it (Friday) night that we had already started the draft with Tony Ugoh," said Dungy, the Colts' head coach since 2002. "We hadn't since I've been here really addressed the offensive line. We've taken them usually on the second day, but now we got two really, really good players if you include Tony in this – which you have to – that will help our offensive line way, way down the road.
"It has been good and something we thought we needed to do."
Thirty-one of the Colts' last 51 selections had been defensive players. The last time they drafted an offensive lineman in the first three rounds was 1999, when they selected the late Brandon Burlsworth of Arkansas in Round 3.
The last time the Colts used their first selection on an offensive lineman was 1997, when they selected offensive tackle Tarik Glenn with the No. 19 selection of the first round.
"It hurts our defensive souls, both of us, not to pick a defensive player here, but we felt the need line crossed the talent line," Polian said. "The fact that we've added in effect in this draft two young offensive lineman is something we needed to do."
Polian said he thought entering the draft that the Colts might have a chance to trade down for additional selections.
"We thought if the quarterbacks were still there the phone might ring," Polian said. "They weren't, so that precluded that. Just go ahead and make your choice.
"We felt that where we were – Tony and I talked about it as late as (Friday) night -- 'Stay right where you are; we're going to get a good player, and the rest of it will fall for us,''' Polian said. "Regardless of who we took we would have gotten a player we really liked at that pick."
Pollak (6-feet-3, 293 pounds) started 13 games at center each of the past two seasons. He was an All-Pac 10 selection as a senior and a second-team selection as a junior.
"He is a big, strong, powerful wide-based-yet-still-athletic player," Polian said, adding that Arizona State Head Coach Dennis Erickson described Pollak as the Sun Devils' "best football player."
Polian and Colts Director of Player Personnel Tom Telesco scouted Pollak last season when ASU played UCLA, Polian said.
"We talked with Dennis Erickson before the game, asked him about all the prospects on his squad," Polian said. "We have a high regard for Dennis. He has coached in the league and obviously knows football players. He volunteered and said, 'This is my top guy.' He talked about his intangible qualities.
"When we saw him play in the ballgame, we both came away and said, 'Boy, that may be our guy.' "