2016 Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Recap; Addressed Needs Instead of Wants
Indianapolis Colts’ General Manager, Ryan Grigson, has painfully been a firm believer in drafting “the best player available” in every NFL Draft. This means ignoring team needs and drafting the athlete who he believes is the best player left on the board.
Last year, it was passing up on helping out the secondary that got torched throughout the season and drafting Philip Dorsett, a wide receiver that had a hard time seeing the field last season. Landon Collins, a safety out of Alabama, went to the Giants four picks later.
Although Dorsett may blossom over time, it was a rash decision in the moment. The Colts finished 8-8 last season partially due to the secondary getting burned, but also because of ignoring holes in the offensive line in the 2015 draft. Andrew Luck was a tackling dummy last year. Having your quarterback of the future and possibly soon the highest paid player in the league constantly under pressure is not the way to get the most out of your star. No matter how many offensive weapons Luck has, if he cannot stay up right, or in the game at all, then drafting the best player available is a useless idea.
Luck missed seven games last season after suffering a lacerated kidney. The Colts’ management could not have expected to ignore the obvious holes in offensive line and simply just draft the “best player available.” If so, they would easily not be successful in the 2016-2017 season. It seems like Grigson was sticking by his philosophy just days before the draft, saying “We still want the most talented player that we can acquire at each pick.”
Grigson Goes Against His Ideas
With the 18th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Colts selected Ryan Kelly, a center out of Alabama.
It was not the flashiest pick of the first round, by any means. Maybe the least exciting pick of the entire first round actually. However, this pick was a pick strictly based on need. Grigson made the smart move and invested his first round pick on someone who can shore up the putrid offensive line that was used last year.
Kelly is the number one center on the depth chart right now. He will be starting from day one and is a huge improvement. Alabama ran the ball over everyone last year. Kelly was one of the most important pieces of that great offensive line. Winning the Remington Award for best center in college football and contributing to Derrick Henry winning the Heisman trophy last year by providing key blocks for the running back were some of his highlights.
Many draft experts were even saying that this pick wasn’t that great, simply due to the value of where he was drafted. Kelly was projected to be selected near the end of the first round, but Grigson was able to put his normal ideals aside and draft the huge center.
If you take a look at previous NFL drafts, not many centers are being drafted in the first round anymore. In fact, the only position that is drafted less in the first round is the dying position of fullback.
The pick was by far the safest pick in the first round, and one of the smartest picks Grigson has done during his tenure as general manager. Colts’ fans should be rejoicing at this pick, although it may seem boring, their is nothing more important than protecting Luck for the long term.
The Colts now can say that one of their biggest weaknesses is now a strength, all thanks to Ryan Kelly.
(2016 Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Recap)