News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

February 22, 2013

Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013

INDIANAPOLIS — A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.

It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection.  While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.

The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.

That’s the situation second-year general manager Ryan Grigson finds himself in as the 2013 National Football Scouting Combine got underway Thursday at Lucas Oil stadium.

Instead of having the pick of the litter, Grigson now is looking for the best player available regardless of position or perceived team needs. Also, last year Indianapolis was in the middle of a massive roster shakeup. This time around, not so much.

“It’s a bit different. You could say that,” Grigson admitted during a press concerned with the league’s media. “The focus is still the same. Just improve every day. It’s still the same mindset. Just trying to get better and stay within the vision of going to the Super Bowl.”

The Colts informed outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie last Friday that the team would not try to re-sign them when their contracts expire on March 12.

Potential free agents — such as punter Pat McAfee, defensive end Fili Moala and cornerback Jerraud Powers — might be back next season. That remains to be seen.

“We’ve reached out to the guys on our team that we would like to re-sign. I’ve sat down with the players and tried to explain the situations to them. I try to put as many cards on the table as I can, try to give them a glimpse of what direction we’re headed,” Grigson said.

“But we’re still going through the process. That’s why we’re here [at the combine]. There’s college and pro players that we’re delving into daily.”

The Colts were cash-strapped, salary cap wise, last year. This year, though, Indianapolis’ cap number is reportedly $43.427 million, giving the team deeper pockets to go shopping.

“The cap gives us good flexibility. It’s a good spot to be in,” Grigson explained.  “It’s nice to go shopping a little bit.”

As for the decision to part ways with Freeney and Collie, the Colts GM said that the time was right to make the moves.

“Felt with our vision moving forward, [Freeney and Collie] weren’t part of it,” Grigson said.

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