News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Colts

April 29, 2012

New Colts GM, coach pleased with first draft

INDIANAPOLIS — In a sense, first-year general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano were rookies during the 2012 NFL draft.

Grigson and Pagano conducted their first draft in their current positions with the team. When the three-day player selection process was finally over Saturday evening, they both came away pleased with the results.

“I feel great about our picks. I feel like we were disciplined. That was the plan, stay disciplined to our [draft] board. Take the best football players we could and build this thing the right way,” Grigson said afterward. “And I think that’s what we did. At each pick, we took really good football players.”

The Colts’ draft was heavily favored in the direction of the offense this year, with eight players selected (two quarterbacks, two tight ends, two wide receivers, a running back and an offensive guard). There were two defensive players picked (a nose tackle and a linebacker).

Indianapolis went into the draft wanting to add a cornerback, but missed out on the opportunity.

“It was there and we had a guy we coveted and we felt really, really good about. He fell off the board right before we got into position to grab the guy,” Pagano said. “I think it was a couple of picks right before we were slated to pick and we were going to pull him off the board. But another team took him. That’s how the draft is.”

Grigson added that finding the right cornerback to play in the Colts’ new hybrid 3-4 defensive alignment wasn’t easy. This was a downyear for finding quality defensive backs.

“It’s tough because it was a very lean position. There was guys getting drafted in this draft that were backups. So you start looking at who’s the fastest corner or who’s the best football player that’s maybe a little speed deficient,” he said.

“It’s kind of like pick your poison. Do you want the stiff guy that’s got size or the guy that can run but is small. There is a reason why they are down there. The real good ones, especially at the corner position, they come off [the draft board] early, early. It’s just the nature of this thing. There was obviously more offensive players higher on our board than defense this year.”

Pagano understands that most people figured the Colts would concentrate on defense since that’s his background.

“Coming in here as a defensive coach, I’m sure everybody thought this thing would probably be flipped the other way. But that’s just not how it worked out this year,” he explained.

“As far as the players went and the [draft] board went and the way the guys came off the board, that’s the way it fell. We’re not going to apologize for that. We filled some needs and we created a lot of competition. We brought in a lot of good players. We’re excited to have them all.”

The Colts are expected to sign several undrafted free agents. That list should be released early next week.

I I I

n Best pick — Quarterback Andrew Luck. Smart, heady, best quarterback and best player available in the 2012 draft. He is expected to do well as the heir to Peyton Manning’s legacy in Indianapolis.

n Hilton signed by Bengals — Former Indiana State wide receiver Justin Hilton was signed as a free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday night.

“Officially a Cincinnati Bengal!” said Hilton on his Twitter account.

Hilton caught 72 passes for 1,224 yards and 11 touchdowns in his two years with the Sycamores.

Todd Golden contributed to this report.

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