I think we can all say that we are excited about having a different head coach than Jim Caldwell. We now have a coach with fire, passion, personality, and the intensity that will allow him to bring the best out of his players. That man is Chuck Pagano.
We got a new general manager as well in Ryan Grigson.
For the most part those are things to be excited about, and something I think may have gone forgotten a little bit.
I'm excited to see what these two guys can do in the regular season, but I'm even more excited about the things they've already done.
With the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford. This was a no brainer pick. It doesn't get any more clear cut than that. The worst kept secret about the draft. Andrew Luck is our guy, and we took the best quarterback prospect to come out in a long time.
We are now a completely different team with a solid quarterback, who people are already promising huge things from. The foundation of Rome has been assembled.
Now, we have an absolutely mess of a team. Nobody can disagree with that. Let's be real for a second, we lost our quarterback and we went 2-14 on the season. That alone says our team has holes all over the board and is nothing but weak.
So, what are we as an organization going to do about that? Build Rome one at a time, piece by piece, and do it primarily through the draft.
I thoroughly applaud the whole front office for doing something that is extremely clever, maybe not popular, but smart. Now, we have the quarterback problem fixed, but there's so many other holes. Perhaps the weakest of all spots on the roster aside from cornerback, was tight end. All we had for "talent" was Brody Eldridge, and he's more of a blocking tight end.
So, what did we do this draft? At first I really thought it was a head scratcher to take back to back tight ends in a weak tight end class, especially with so may other holes to fill. But, Andrew Luck ran a lot of two tight end sets in college, and that's something he's comfortable running. We nabbed the two best tight ends in the draft, and turned an absolute weakness into a possible strength. That in itself is worth some applause.
Even though we need defensive and offensive players, I really think it was a good move to really just focus on one side of the ball, and with the addition of Andrew Luck, that side of the ball happened to be offense.
Coby Fleener is an absolute monster, and some even compare him to a bigger Dallas Clark. He's 6'6 and he runs a 4.45 40 time. Oh, and not to mention he was Andrew Luck's favorite target at Stanford, and a quarterback's best friend. With about a 20 yard reception average, 10 touchdowns, and a comfort level with Andrew Luck, this is an excellent pick.
The colts just grabbed the top talent at quarterback by far, and now his buddy at Stanford, also a top talent at the position. Rome's starting to get built.
The third pick, while a head scratcher, makes a ton of sense. Dwayne Allen was right behind Coby Fleener for the top tight end talent in this years draft. In fact, some people even had him rated higher than Coby Fleener. Other positions were needed yes, but Grigson and company stuck to their board, got a great player in the third round, and transformed a huge weakness into one of the only strengths on this team.
If you think you don't agree with the two tight end picks, then think about quarterback succesion. Andrew Luck's numbers suggest he was a much better quarterback throwing to tight ends than any other position.
Throwing to tight ends, Andrew Lucks completion percentage jumps up about 7%, he's thrown 24 touchdowns to tight ends compared to 13 touchdowns to other receivers, and he also has 6 less interceptions throwing to tight ends rather than throwing to other receivers. He's comfortable with two tight ends. Head scratcher pick? I certainly don't think so anymore.
And the final piece to this puzzle of optimism, is the guy we traded up to get. Another head scratcher type of pick, percieved by many, but I truly like it. We got T.Y. Hilton, an extremely shifty and speedy receiver. He has the ability to stretch the field, and can make defenses worry about him, leaving other options open, like those two tight ends we just drafted for instance. Not to mention he also has crazy good potential in the return game, so his value is totally worth it.
Defensively, that's our focus in next year's draft. We need a corner, that's the bottom line.
Offensively, Rome is starting to get built. We have a lot of nice pieces, and it's refreshing to see that our front office wants our new quarterback to have some weapons to help him out.
Overall, maybe those head scratcher picks weren't so bad after all. I was with everybody, yelling at my television, throwing a fit, and utterly shocked. As I let it sink in and realize what we're doing, I like the draft.
We have more than one hole to fill. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day, but it has started, and started out very nicely.
I applaud the front office, Grigson, Mr. Irsay of course, and Pagano.
I like where this is going, and you should too.