AL HAMNIK: 2014 draft a limited buffet for Colts' GM Ryan Grigson

2014-05-05T18:15:00Z 2014-05-13T21:29:07Z AL HAMNIK: 2014 draft a limited buffet for Colts' GM Ryan GrigsonAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
May 05, 2014 6:15 pm  • 

General manager Ryan Grigson is credited with resurrecting the Indianapolis Colts franchise, but the Highland native insists it's a team effort from everyone in the building.

That's Grigson, who's been humble since he had a shadow.

But as Thursday's NFL draft approaches, there is media and fan pressure building over what could've been.

The Colts' first selection is 59th overall because Grigson traded their first-round pick last season to Cleveland for ineffective running back Trent Richardson.

All three Indy running backs had frustrating seasons.

Actually, two frustrating, one awful.

Vick Ballard tore his ACL during Week 2 of practice. Ahmad Bradshaw is recovering from neck surgery. Richardson was traded for after Ballard went down, and rushed for only 458 yards in 14 games.

The 2014 starter has yet to be named.

And Grigson is tired of all the naysayers, though quite aware it comes with his job.

"Let's just let the guy (Richardson) get in pads," Grigson said at his pre-draft press conference. "This horse has been dead and buried for months. Trent's in a great place right now. He's working his tail off.

"That position group is as strong as any position group on this football team. He's got his work cut out for him. He knows it. We expect big things out of him and everyone else at every position if we're going to win a Super Bowl."

Grigson was never more serious, an admiring trait and burning optimism that fans absolutely love.

"Everyone's got to play lights out," he said.

The Colts have five picks — tied for fewest number in franchise history — from Rounds 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7. They need a cornerback, center and wide receiver and probably won't try to move up to VIP Suite Level.

"It's not like I can offer up a whole lot to make great moves upwards," Grigson said.

The websites are flooded with mock drafts and projections, some comical, others embellished, most simply a shot in the dark. As a kick-butt scout in his earlier life, Grigson takes it all with a pinch of salt.

"You've got to consider your source," he said. "At the end of the day, you look at the film. If they're saying some guy who didn't run at the combine or at his pro day finally worked out for an NFL team and ran a 4.38 but I had four (scouts) all think the guy has average play speed, then he stays that way.

"The combine, it lies. But the tape doesn't."

On that, Ryan Grigson stakes his reputation.

"At the end of the day, it's about the film and can the guy play the game?" he said. "If you get a bunch of athletes that don't know how to play the game, you're going to get your rear end fired."

With two straight 11-5 finishes and Andrew Luck at quarterback, I'd say he's got pretty good job security.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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