The second round has given Polian some of his best players. Like almost every other round, Polian consistently finds gems in the second round. Defense has been a priority in round 2 in the past, and it continued into this past draft. Many starters and even a Pro Bowler have been drafted in this round. His first pick was a small wide receiver out of Washington, and his most recent pick was a big defensive tackle from Southern Cal. Let's see the steals Polian got, and some he may have missed on.
1998: Jerome Pathon/WR/Washington
College: Pathon was born in South Africa and grew up in Canada. It wasn't until his college days at Washington did he live in the states. He played at Acadia University in Nova Scotia for a year before he transferred to Washington, and he had a great year with 44 receptions and 868 yards. In 1997, Pathon had one of the best years in Huskies history when he had 69 receptions and 1245 yards. This earned him first team All-American honors.
Draft: The Colts had already taken the QB of the future for the team, so they then looked for talent to surround him with. The team already had a solid receiver in Marvin Harrison, but there wasn't a great second target for Peyton to go to. Other receivers that we left on the board were Jacquez Green and Patrick Johnson.
Today: Pathon is no longer in the NFL. He played for the Colts for four years then went to New Orleans for two and ended his career with a season in Atlanta. Pathon had a great rookie year when he started 15 games and had 511 receiving yards. He only started 2 games in 1999 and played in 10 due to the rookie Terrence Wilkins. However, Pathon had a career year in 2000 with over 600 receiving yards and looked to be a rising star. However, he hurt his foot in Week 3 and never fully recovered. He was looking like he was bound for the Pro Bowl. He had an amazing 168 receiving yards in Week 2, but the injury derailed his season and his career. With Harrison, Wilkins and Reggie Wayne, Pathon was the odd man out. He had two solid years with New Orleans and one year with Atlanta where he only had one catch.
Review: This pick turned out bad because of circumstance. If it weren't for injury, Pathon was looking like a star. However, 2001 was one of the worst years in recent Colts history when it seemed like everyone was getting hurt. However, 2001 led to Jim Mora's firing and the hiring of one Tony Dungy. Pathon was picked over Pro Bowlers like Flozell Adams, Patrick Surtain and Samari Rolle.
1999: Mike Peterson/LB/Florida
College: Peterson played under coaching great Steve Spurrier at the University of Florida. He started 24 of 42 games and had great success for the Gators. He was 1st team All-SEC and had 249 tackles in those 42 games. He was one of the top linebackers in the country playing for one of the top programs in college football.
Draft: In the first round the Colts took running back Edgerrin James, so with Manning, James, Harrison and Pathon, the Colts were settled at offense. They looked for a defensive playmaker to help strengthen a poor defense.
Today: Peterson last played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and was a mediocre linebacker at the end of 2008. He was cut and later signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Peterson played four years for the Colts and was a great linebacker. He had 3 sacks in his rookie year and had 2 seasons with over 100 tackles, including 2000 when he had 158 tackles. He was not resigned after 2002 and he went to the Jags. Peterson became a notorious douchebag who even another notorious douchebag Jack Del Rio couldn't stand and had to get away from. Peterson was a loudmouth and became a locker room cancer with the Jaguars. He often spoke out against the Colts for not resigning him, showing his limited knowledge in Bill Polian's history and the way the league runs.
Review: Peterson was a great linebacker with the Colts but didn't last long. Usually Colts linebackers don't stay too long, so his departure is not a different situation from Cato June or Marcus Washington, other great Colts linebackers. Peterson was the star Colts linebacker during his four years. His status fell because of his stupid grudge against the Colts, but he may be the best Colts linebacker in the Polian era.
2000: Marcus Washington/LB/Auburn
College: Washington went to his hometown college Auburn for four years. However, he was not a linebacker at Auburn. He was actually a defensive end who got seven sacks in his senior year. Like some other old Colts defensive players, he had to adjust to a new position when he came to Indy.
Draft: In 2000 the Colts took linebacker Rob Morris in the first round. However, the defense was still getting looked at. The Colts ended up taking two linebackers in the first two rounds with Morris and Washington, making the linebacking corps Peterson-Morris-Washington. That locked up the position for the next few years.
Today: Washington, along with Cato June, Gary Brackett and Mike Peterson, is one of the great Colts linebackers. With the Colts he had 18 sacks in just four years. No other Colts linebacker has been able to get to the QB as well as Washington. Like Peterson, his Colts career lasted just four seasons and he went on to become a star linebacker for the Redskins. He made the Pro Bowl in 2004, his first season as a Redskin and had 100 tackles in 2004, a feat he never accomplished with Indy. He is now unemployed.
Review: Washington was the most prolific pass rushing linebacker in Polian era history. Philip Wheeler is supposed to be the next Washington. Wheeler will have his chance as he is the favorite for the SAM linebacker spot. It would be nice to have Washington back in 2009, but Clint Session, Tyjuan Hagler, Brackett, Adam Seward, Wheeler and Freddie Keiaho give the Colts enough strong linebackers.
2001: Idrees Bashir/S/Memphis
College: Idrees Bashir was a solid safety for the Memphis Tigers. For his first three years, he was a strong safety, but he moved to free safety for his senior year. He was one of the leading tacklers on the team for his junior and senior seasons.
Draft: In the first round, the Colts took Reggie Wayne, but the Colts decided to work on their weak secondary in the second. Bashir was a great safety at both pass defense and run defense, so he was supposed to be the strong safety of the future.
Today: Bashir plays for the Detroit Lions now, but he did enjoy four seasons with the Colts where he started every game he played. However he was battling injuries and never became as productive as the team would have liked. His rookie year was his best when he had 77 tackles and an interception. He never matched his tackle number, and that is why he plays for the Lions and not the Colts right now.
Review: Bashir never panned out, but he was fun to watch. I wish he would have been able to have any major effect on the team, but it just didn't happen. It's as simple as that.
2002: Larry Tripplett/DT/Washington
College: Like Pathon, Tripplett played for the Washington Huskies. Also like Pathon, he was a great college player. He was a third team All-American and had 11 tackles for a loss. He only played one game at nose tackle and played the rest at defensive end even at 300 pounds. He was a great special teamer with 3 blocked kicks. His pass rush was his greatest asset. He had 6.5 sacks in his senior year.
Draft: It's clear that the Colts were going after defensive line in this draft. They took Dwight Freeney in the first round and took Tripplett over offensive stars like Clinton Portis, IU's own Antwaan Randle El and Antonio Bryant.
Today: Tripplett's career ended up being pretty short. In what seems to be a trend, he played four years for the Colts. He was forced into the starting lineup almost immediately. He had just 21 tackles but was a nice rotation player. However, he lost his starting job in 2004 to everyone's favorite DT Josh Williams. In his final year with the team he had a nice 4 sacks and 30 tackles. However, the Colts parted ways with Tripplett because they had the greatest Colt ever Corey Simon along with Montae Reagor. Tripplett went on to have two mediocre years with the Bills before ending his career.
Review: Tripplett never panned out. He had a good 2005 season, which was the Colts best defensive season under Polian. However, he didn't have enough success to warrant a spot on the team once his first contract was over. Tripplett ended up being like all of the other Colts defensive tackles who disappointed.
2003: Mike Doss/S/Ohio State
College: Doss was another future Colt who just dominated in college. He was a major part on the 2002 Ohio State team who the refs decided to give the national championship to. Doss had an amazing career with 3 Sporting News All-American spots and three All-Big Ten spots. He did it all. He had 8 interceptions, 8 fumbles recovered and 6 sacks in his career. He was a two-time finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, named after one of the greatest defensive backs in history and the greatest all-around athlete in American history.
Draft: This was the first draft I really followed. I remember how excited I was that the Colts got one of the best safeties in Big Ten history. They already took Dallas Clark in the first round, and they went secondary in the second, an area that really needed some help.
Today: Doss is not with the team anymore. Like Peterson, Washington, and Tripplett, he played four years with the team. He had his fair share of successes and failures. Doss' second, third and fourth seasons all were successful with two interceptions and at least four starts. In his final year with the Colts, he only played six games but was off to a hot start before he tore his ACL. The Colts had some sixth round pick named Antoine Bethea who Coach Dungy apparently liked, and Bethea took his starting job. After Bethea ended up being pretty damn good, Doss was no longer needed and was cut. However he was part of the Super Bowl team, so that's something.
Review: I was always a Mike Doss fan. He wasn't great, but he was a fun player to watch. He had his problems, including a time when he shot his gun outside of a restaurant. However he was a decent player. After his injury it was clear that he was no longer needed, especially with future Pro Bowler Bethea on the team.
2004: Bob Sanders/S/Iowa
College: Sanders is the second player taken out of Iowa in recent Colts history. At Iowa Sanders was a little bit of a legend for his murderous hits that separated a running back's shoulder. Sanders was held out of tackling drills because of that. Bob Sanders appeared on 3 All-Big Ten teams and was a second team All-American in his senior year.
Draft: The Colts traded down twice to take Sanders. Sanders ended up being the second safety taken in the first two rounds in the past two drafts. It represented a complete change for the defensive backs that occured once Dungy became head coach. The unit went from being one of the weaknesses to one of the strengths in just a matter of years.
Today: When healthy, Sanders is the best safety in the NFL. He is up there with Ed Reed and Troy Polomalu. However, he has only had two healthy seasons, and those were amazing. In both 2005 and 2007 he made the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team. In 2007 he was the Defensive Player of the Year. His nagging injuries have kept him from becoming one of the best players in the league. It seems that it is every other year, so hopefully he is healthy in 2009. His style of play puts him in a position where he is always going to be put in dangerous situations. He is a hard hitting safety who also is great in pass defense. He is the leader of the defense.
Review: This could be the best pick in Polian history. Everyone loves Bob Sanders. He could easily be the most popular player on the team. I'll take every other year of Bob Sanders in a big contract over a decent safety every year for a lesser contract. The 2004 draft really sucked, but Sanders is the bright spot. Hopefully he will still be playing for a while, but his injury history seems to point to a short career, so enjoy it while it lasts.
2005: Kelvin Hayden/CB/Illinois
College: Hayden represents another Big Ten defensive back taken by the Colts in the second. It was three in a row at this point. However Hayden didn't play all of his career at Illinois. He played two years at a junior college in Joliet where he was the best wide receiver in junior college. He led Joliet Junior College to 21 straight victories and a national championship. After his two years at Joliet JC, he went to Illinois and became the team's best wide receiver. He led the team in yards and receptions in his junior year; however the team switched him to corner for his senior year. He transitioned well, leading the Big Ten in interceptions.
Draft: Hayden was the second cornerback taken in the 2005 draft by the Colts. Marlin Jackson was taken in the first. That means that four defensive backs were taken in the first two rounds over three years. All of them became starters at one point in their career, and only Mike Doss isn't a starter for the Colts anymore.
Today: Hayden is the best corner on the team, surpassing the first round pick Jackson. Hayden will always be remembered first for his interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI that clinched the win. However Hayden has just been amazing the past two years. He is the prototypical corner for the Tampa-2. He is big, a good tackler and has sure hands. Over the past 26 games of his career he has 6 interceptions and 125 tackles. He signed a long-term contract this offseason and will be a Colt for a long time.
Review: Hayden is one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the game. The Colts are so lucky that they locked him up longterm because he is only going to get better. I predict that he makes the Pro Bowl next year and has more than 3 interceptions, his number of the past 2 seasons.
2006: Tim Jennings/CB/Georgia
College: Tim Jennings is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, cornerback under longtime Bulldogs coach Mark Richt. He was a three year starter for the Dawgs and had ten interceptions, ten tackles for a loss and 170 tackles.
Draft: In the first round, the Colts took running back Joseph Addai, but the team decided to go defense next. They knew that Jason David and Nick Harper were about to go, so Jennings was supposed to replace one of them.
Today: Jennings did an alright job filling in for Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden when they were down with injuries, but I am still not a fan. I don't like small cornerbacks because I do not trust them if a running back is coming their way. However, Jennings has the speed to be a decent nickelback and he has experience now. I prefer TJ Rushing, but Jennings wasn't awful last year. I'm hoping that Rushing or Jerraud Powers comes on strong and gives the Colts a bigger nickelback, but I will assume that Jennings has the job for now.
Review: Jennings hasn't impressed me, but many people seem to be a fan. I prefer cornerbacks to be bigger than 5-7, 185, but size won't matter if he can perform on the level of a Marlin Jackson. Jennings is definitely not my favorite player on the team because of his style. I like cornerbacks that I know can take down any big bruiser that comes towards them. Speed has never been a big deal for me, especially in the Cover-2 where corners are playing short zones up front.
2007: Tony Ugoh/OT/Arkansas
College: Ugoh got hurt in his freshman year, but just the fact that he was playing as a freshman offensive lineman early in the year showed how good he was. After his medical redshirt season, he became the best blocker for the crazy Wildhog the Razorbacks used. Ugoh paved ways for future NFLers Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis while having to protect these guys while they attempted to pass. Ugoh ended up being a third team All-American as a senior.
Today: Well, the whole "down the road" thing was a lot quicker than we all would have thought. Glenn surprisingly retired right before training camp, and Ugoh became the starter at left tackle almost immediately. When healthy, Ugoh was great. It seemed like Tarik Glenn never really retired and just started having less false starts. However injuries have plagued our friend Ugoh. He has missed six games in his short two year career and struggled with injury for a few more games last year.
Review: BBS pretty much said it all. Ugoh has come under fire after being called out by Irsay, but that only shows how important to the team he is, and the Front Office would not leave an important position in the hands of someone they think is lazy. Plain and simple.
2008: Mike Pollak/OG/Arizona State
College: In 2007 the Arizona State line was just dreadful. The team had the talent, but the line was the Achilles' Heel of the team. Pollak was considered the only bright spot for the awful unit. Pollak was the starting center for the team and led the line much like Saturday leads the line today. Also like Saturday, the failures of the offensive line was not Pollak's fault. Pollak did the best he can with a bunch of untalented linemen on his sides.
Draft: The Colts traded their first round pick to the Niners for Tony Ugoh in 2007, so you could say that the Colts decided to work on the offensive line with the 2008 NFL Draft. Remember that they also drafted Steve Justice and Jamey Richard, so one day we could very well see 80% of the offensive line coming from this draft. Pollak was expected to replace Jake Scott at right guard.
Today: Pollak is the starting right guard, but he did not have the best start to a career. Pollak did not have a preseason because of injury, and he missed the playoff game against San Diego because of injury as well. When he did play, he wasn't very good. Hopefully he can work past it.
Review: I think it is hypocritical to label Pollak a bust but defend Ugoh. Neither of them are busts. Both of them have battled injury. However, Pollak had to make a position change without preseason. That is what I need to stress. I bet if he was healthy last August, he would have had a fine year. He is very talented. Polian wouldn't touch him if he wasn't. He had to learn on the fly and Mudd did all he could do. We saw what Mudd could do with a 7th round pick in Jamey Richard. I bet he can do wonders with Mike Pollak.
2009: Fili Moala/DT/SCum
College: Fili Moala played for a team that claims a make believe championship. His teammates were paid. His coach makes Bill Belichick look like Tony Dungy. I hate the University of Southern California and all it stands for. Fili Moala is the first player I really like to ever attend that wretched university.
Draft: Like in 2007, the Colts traded up for Moala. However, they only had to spare their second and third round picks, so the Colts still have their first rounder for next season. Moala was worth it.
Today: Well, it hasn't even been two months since the draft, so nothing has changed. I will say that he is looking like a starter and that's what I expect him to be come September. He is so talented. He can rush the passer and stop the run both at levels that no other defensive tackle on the team could do last year. I am psyched about him.
Review: USC sucks.
2nd round pick rankings
9. Idrees Bashir
8. Larry Tripplett
7. Tim Jennings
6. Jerome Pathon
5. Mike Doss
T3. Marcus Washington
T3. Mike Peterson
2. Kelvin Hayden
1. Bob Sanders