2011 NFL Draft: Bill Polian And Colts Hold Pre-Draft Press Conference

On Friday, while many folks are dealing with religious services due to the Good Friday holiday, along with preparations for Easter this Sunday, the Colts decided to have a little press conference. This meeting was intended to be a pre-Draft chit-chat between the Colts brain trust and the media.

Now, what made this particular pre-Draft conference interesting was people in the colts organization other than Bill Polian were involved in it. Those other people were team General Manager Chris Polian and the rarely seen team Director of Pro Personnel, Tom Telesco.

This was interesting in that I do not ever recall a pre-Draft press conference that featured Telesco and Chris Polian so prominently. In previous news conferences, it's been Bill Polian, and only Bill Polian, at the podium.

This past off-season, ole Bill got his title changed from team 'president' to team 'vice chairman.' Some have suggested this is a sign that Bill is quietly slipping out the back door. Friday's press conference, with Bill sharing the stage with Chris and Tom, seems to suggest that Bill is delegating more control as he fades further into the background.

And where was Jim Caldwell? As we noted at the conclusion of our 2011 Scouting Combine coverage, Caldwell has not spoken to anyone from the media since his post-game press conference following the loss to the Jets. That's a long time for the once media chatty coach. Where the hell is he?

And no, talking to Colts.com's Jeffry Gorman does not count as 'talking to the media.' Gorman's a paid Colts employee, and lofts more softballs than Jennie Finch.

After the jump, highlights from the press conference.

  • Bill Polian spent much of the conference strangely talking about the draft 'process.' He re-iterated (as he seems to do every season) that the sole purpose of the draft is to 'acquire players for your team.'
  • The most interesting comments of the three who spoke Friday was Telesco. He initially spoke about how the Colts might need to 'scale down a little bit' on the number of potential free agent rookies the Colts plan to sign. Again, because there is no CBA, undrafted rookies cannot be signed as free agents after the NFL Draft concludes.
  • Bill stated that the entire draft process is important, not just the first few two rounds.
  • Tom Telesco said that defensive line is the strongest position in the 2011 NFL Draft, with quarterback a close second.  For Telesco, the d-line strengths are at both end and tackle. 'It's a big group. It's a deep group.'
  • Chris Polian stated: 'You can look at any position on this team and say we're filling a need.' 
  • Telesco: '[The 2011 Draft class] is probably one of the better senior quarterback groups we've seen in eight, or nine, or ten years.'
  • Chris Polian confirmed that the Colts have worked out some quarterbacks, a process he described as 'different.'
  • Bill talked about the 2001 NFL Draft, stating that the team's brain trust 'strives for consensus. And we couldn't get a consensus the year we drafted Reggie. So, we went to the next best player: Reggie Wayne. We trusted the [draft] board, and it worked for us.'

Here's some of my general observations of the press conference:

  • Tom Telesco needs to be seen more. He does an excellent job articulating points to the media, and (unlike Bill Polian) he doesn't seem to waste time lecturing people on the 'process' or 'function' of the draft. His thoughts on which positions were the strongest were especially enlightening.
  • Bill spent a lot of time explaining what the function of the draft is supposed to be: Acquiring players. I'm not sure what other purpose the draft is supposed to function as, or why Polian felt it important to state that acquiring players via the draft is important. We all kind of know that already. That's why we fans care so much about it. Maybe he feels the lights and glamor of the draft in recent years have overshadowed the function it serves. Again, I don't know why he'd think that. Fans love the draft because they want to see their team draft well, not because they want to see celebrities like Alyssa Milano chat about her sports apparel line. 
  • Bill talking about the value of the draft process overall was also a bit annoying. He talked about how he tries to 'educate the fanbase' on how the whole process counts (i.e., the entire draft), not just the first or second round picks. In general, that's true. However, the first two rounds are indeed the most critical. A team cannot afford to busts those picks. No draft that busts their first and second round picks is ever considered truly 'successful.' Thus, more people emphasize those rounds more than round three through seven. It's interesting that Polian chose to highlight this given that his first and second round draft choices in recent years have been, for the most part, busts.
  • I found it interesting that none of them mentioned offensive line. I saw that as an indicator, but we'll see.
  • Polian talking about the 2001 draft was intriguing. While I have no problem with them taking Reggie Wayne that year, it's worth noting that they did go 6-10 that season due, in large part, to their horrible defense. Defense has always been an issue for the Colts, and when a team like Indy does not invest first day picks on that side of the ball, it's no coincidence that the D suffers. Polian passed on Kyle Vanden Bosch, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Rogers, Kendrell Bell, and Adrian Wilson on the first day of that draft.He also wasted his second round pick on Idrees Bashir.
  • As I'm sure you all know, Bill Polian press conferences frustrate the hell out of me, and I'm not the only one. Media people who cover the team talk to me all the time about how full of it Bill is when he does these things. He clearly thinks the media and fans are idiots, and talks to them like children. It's demeaning, and it often pisses people like me off. Sorry if that negativity bleeds through my writing, but I just can't help it. Because of this, it was refreshing to see Chris Polian and Tom Telesco up there. They made the event truly informative, and they spoke to the media as adults, not children. That was encouraging to see.
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