Feb 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ryan Grigson the general manager of the Indianapoils Colts talks about the status of Peyton Manning (not pictured) at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
New Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson decided to use the Colts 34th and 64th selections in the 2012 NFL Draft on tight ends. Despite transitioning the defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4, along with inheriting one of the league's worst pass defenses, Grigson felt that Clemson's Dwayne Allen was the "best player available" at 64 after he took Coby Fleener at 34.
When asked about taking Allen at 64 (despite players like Trumaine Johnson and Jamell Fleming still on the board), Grigson tried his best to explain. From the Indy Star's Phil Wilson:
"Best players," Colts GM Ryan Grigson emphasized at the close of his press conference tonight.
Asked if he would look defense with some of the seven picks remaining in rounds four through seven, Grigson didn’t hesitate to repeat himself.
"Best players," he said.
Fine. In general, I can accept that rationalization. If this roster wasn't one of the worst in football, I think "best players" makes sense. However, when the roster is this depleted, "best players" really doesn't work. You can't field a team with 53 tight ends. Roster needs based on position factor into every team's evaluation of players, and once the Colts wrote "Coby Fleener" on their draft card at the top of Round Two, the tight end position should have been crossed off the priority section on the draft board.
Based on Grigson's rather simplistic "best players" explanation, it wasn't. This might explain why nearly everyone at Radio City Music Hall looked at each other with a "WTF?" look on their faces when Allen's name was read out loud.
Again, the need positions of corner and nose tackle are glaring. They are so glaring that it sounds as if Chuck Pagano and the Colts defensive coaches are getting nervous.
Coach Pagano asked if tomorrow's focus will be defense. "It better be, (def coord Greg) Manusky is up my you know what."— Ashley Adamson (@AdamsonAshley) April 28, 2012
Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson: "It's nice to have two legit NFL tight ends on the roster now."
Yeah, that's a shot. Intentional or not, it is. Grigson went on to say Eldridge still has a place on the roster, a phrase that should have elicited eye-rolls from the press in the room.
Look, I'm sure more than a few Colts fans will lash out at me for calling out Grigson on this obviously terrible pick, but we call things as we see them around here. Also, Grigson did a piss poor job rationalizing the selections, and the shot at Eldridge was unnecessary. Overall, the 64th pick made Grigson look inexperienced, which is what he is being a first year G.M.
This is, of course, nothing against Dwayne Allen. He's a fine player and I hope he pans out for the Colts. It's just that picking him after picking Fleener is quite obviously dumb. Not when the roster is this bad. Not when your own coaches are starting to get nervous about the talent they have to work with.
No justification for it other than blind homerism.