Three years later, Pete Prisco grades the 2007 NFL Draft for the Colts

This is kind of on the heels of our discussion yesterday. From good ole Pete:

The best pick of the draft was fourth-round linebacker Clint Session. He is a Pro Bowl-quality linebacker who has started the past two seasons. Anthony Gonzalez, the team's first-round pick, was starting until he suffered a knee injury in the first game last season. He should start in 2010. The Colts traded a 2008 first-round pick to draft left tackle Tony Ugoh in the second round. Bad move. He spent last season on the bench after starting his first two with the team. Seventh-round pick Keyunta Dawson has started 20 games in three seasons at defensive tackle, making him a value pick.

Grade: C

A "C" grade is a bit too nice for my taste (I say a "D"), but it does illustrate a far cry from what we all thought that draft was back in 2007. I was very excited about that draft, but busting on Tony Ugoh really hurt this team. Also, Prisco makes no mention of Quinn Pitcock (3rd Rounder, out of football), Michael Coe (5th rounder cut from team last year), and Dante Hughes (3rd rounder, cut from team last year). And calling Keyunta Dawson a "value pick" is a reach. Yes, he has started some games, but he was a bad DT and offers little as a run stopper, to say nothing of his pass rushing skills (which simply do not exist). He started out of necessity, due to Ed Johnson getting kicked off the team in 2008 and Quinn Pitcock quitting football prior to Training Camp in '08. Clint Session is a good backer, but calling him a "Pro Bowler" is a bit much. And I'm a big Session fan.

This draft was a bad draft for Bill Polian and the Colts, pure and simple.

Was it as bad as the draft the Dolphins had (Ted Ginn Jr., John Beck)? No, but it was close. Ginn, like Gonzo, has shown flashes, but has not fully delivered as a first round pick. To Gonzo's credit, his flashes have been at receiver, while Ginn's flashes are solely as a returner. Meanwhile, Beck (2nd Rounder) is as much of a bust as Tony Ugoh, who you have to consider a first rounder in that the Colts gave up a first round pick in 2008 to get him in Round Two of the 2007 NFL Draft. Remember, with that pick in 2008, the Colts could have drafted Tracy Porter, Eddie Royal, Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, Trevor Laws, Dustin Keller, John Carlson, or Ray Rice.

When you consider those players (Porter!), the Tony Ugoh trade was very costly from a talent standpoint. We might have another Super Bowl now if that pick hadn't been screwed up.

Again, I'm not writing all this to simply bash Bill Polian. This discussion merely illustrates that even the best of the absolute best can royally screw-up; that Big Bill is not "always right." Just because he has a magnificent reputation for picking high quality players doesn't make him immune from criticism when he so obviously screws up. He's human. Not shame or harm in admitting error.

To spin this back in a positive light, if this had been any other franchise, the disaster that was the 2007 Draft would potentially have crippled a weaker team. However, when you consider that players like Melvin Bullitt were signed as undrafted rookies in 2007, and you factor in the previous drafts had added significant depth to an already championship caliber team, the Colts have not been hurt too much by the poor job Polian did in 2007.

Unfortunately, the 2008 Draft is nearly approaching 2007 depths. Mike Pollak, Marcus Howard, and Steve Justice were bad picks, while players like Jacob Tamme, Tom Santi, and Jamey Richard haven't done much to help the team. The jury is still out on Mike Hart and Philip Wheeler. Both need good 2010 seasons to salvage this pretty lame draft. The big bright spot from this crop was Pierre Garcon (6th round), and I think even the Colts are shocked as to how quickly that kid developed.

But, again, to spin it back to a positive, the 2009 Draft (Pat McAfee, Austin Collie, Jerraud Powers) seems to be turning out just fine. A big part of evaluating that draft is how well Donald Brown and Fili Moala play in 2010.

Thoughts? Ideas? Creative insults to my intelligence?

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