Feb 25, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Dwayne Allen participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
New Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson seems to have a blueprint for what he envisions this roster becoming, and that vision seems to involve the Colts offense scoring lots of points in order to hide a rather porous defense. After inheriting a roster riddled with holes, including a defense that could barely stop a Pop Warner team from scoring on them last year, Grigson used his first four picks in the 2012 NFL Draft on offense.
QB Andrew Luck (1, 1), TE Coby Fleener (2, 34), TE Dwayne Allen (3, 64), and WR T.Y. Hilton (3, 92) all fill needs for the Colts. However, taking Allen one round after already dedicating a second day pick to Fleener had more than a few people scratching their heads. Then, when Ryan Grigson traded the team's 4th round pick and a 5th rounder to move back into the 3rd at No. 92 in order to snag Hilton, it sent a loud and clear message.
The new Colts G.M. simply is not interested in fixing the team's defense via the draft this year.
Thus, you then get people like Peter King, Matt Ufford, and yours truly questioning the Colts draft strategy. We'll start things off with Peter King.
Somebody has to explain what the Colts did. Destitute on defense. Defensive coach. Switching to 3-4. No defensive picks. Bueller? Bueller?— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) April 28, 2012
Next, Matt Ufford and the SBN Studio "War Room":
Last night on Twitter, I posed this question: If the Colts are going to hire a defensive coach like Chuck Pagano to run their team, and then ask him to completely switch around their defensive scheme, how can they not give him anything to work with in the draft?
Pagano had to address this question yesterday, telling media that his defensive coordinator is, essentially, getting a little nervous about what they have to work with next year.
For the crowd that is saying that the Colts are forgoing defense this year in order to fix it next year, tell that to Pagano and his defensive coordinator, Greg Manusky. I'm willing to bet that such a sentiment would not sit well with them. These men have reputations to uphold, and if the Colts defense looks as bad on the field next year as it looks on paper now, those reps will take a knock. Manusky's especially. The man's been fired from two coordinator jobs in two years, and he doesn't want his reputation sabotaged by management the way the Polians trashed once-respected defensive man Larry Coyer.
Colts beat writer Mike Chappell tweeted last night:
Wonder what DC Greg Manusky did to get locked out of Colts' war room? Maybe they'll throw him a bone in Rounds 4-7.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) April 28, 2012
Ryan Grigson kept repeating the words "best players" yesterday, a reference to getting the best available guys for his club. However, when you hear Dwayne Allen talk, it seems pretty obvious the the Colts targeted him in Round Three because of the two TE offense Bruce Arians wants to run. It's also worth mentioning that both Allen and T.Y. Hilton were players listed in NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock's Top 60. Thus, "best available."
Fine. However, CB Trumaine Johnson, CB Josh Norman, and DT Brandon Thompson were still there at picks 64 and 92. All three are Mayock Top 60. Taking those guys would be getting "best available," but also filling critical team needs on defense. Obviously, you don't expect EVERY need to get filled in this draft, but I guarantee you (and if you listen to Pagano, I consider that a confirmation) the defensive coaches are nervous about the direction Ryan Grigson is going in.
Again, this is nothing against the kids who got drafted, Allen and Hilton especially. They have ability. They can be good players. The criticism is over what the Colts are emphasizing (offense), not the players themselves.
In response to Peter King's completely fair criticisms of the Colts Round Three picks, Colts owner Jim Irsay decided to use Twitter and respond. Predictably, Irsay came off sounding silly, but one thing was clear: They want to build this team around offense, just like they did in 1998.
That has got to make Pagano, Manusky, and his staff more than a little nervous.