Colts general manager Ryan Grigson held his annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday, and despite being rather forthcoming - and, in certain instances, humorous when answering questions - I don't think we're any closer to figuring out the type of player the Colts will take with the No. 24 overall pick in the draft.
This is, of course, a good thing.
One thing we do know is that Grigson isn't about putting up or dealing with "smoke-screens" or engaging in disinformation (a euphemism for lying) when it comes to the draft.
"I just feel that's wasted energy. I'm just not big on smoke-screens. I feel it takes your eye off the ball. Since I've started this process, I just don't feel the need for cloak and dagger because I need to focus on my job and doing my job 100% of the time."
When asked about smoke-screens from other organizations, Grigson responded:
"I'm not a big phone guy, and a lot of people around the league know that. I'm not going to show my hand in this process by having conversations with people, trying to pull information from them. Because, obviously, they're going to try to pull information from us, and then, the minute that happens, they're going to know you're full of baloney. There's no productivity to it. The whole thing is a big charade. So, why even waste my time."
Please forgive me, folks. I'm still adjusting to listening to a G.M. that is forthcoming, personally engaging, and doesn't treat his audience like a room of dullards.
Another great quote from Grigson was in response to a question regarding drafting "the best player available" over a need position [emphasis mine]:
You know, I would never want to ever say that because, really and truthfully, if you have a player at a spot at a position group you feel really strong about here [gestures with his hand], and then you have the guy that's really at a spot that's just right here [gestures with other head, suggesting the player is slightly below the other one], you're going to go with the need. But, if there's a stud that just staring at you, just staring holes through you from your board, and he's at a spot where you felt strongly going forward through the draft process, and that guy can substantially make you better, you have to at least have that discussion.
Again, simple and logical. So very refreshing.
Other tidbits from Grigson's presser:
- Last season, the Colts had "gaping holes" at several positions. Currently, Grigson feels he and Pagano are "in a better position this year."
- Grigson will the prospect of trading out of the first round on a case-by-case basis. "If there's not a player there at 24 where the [draft] room is not excited, we're not high-fiving and things like that, or we're not even doing a little fit pump, we probably shouldn't take that guy. So, we'd probably look to trade out if there is a player there that we feel is just 'OK.'"
- Grigson spoke highly of prospects in the draft who are offensive linemen, defensive linemen, and the secondary, including safeties. "This is a great trench draft," Grigson said.
- When asked whether he has de-prioritize the defensive line or secondary positions because of the free agent acquisitions, Grigson responded: "If someone dynamic comes along, if you have guys who can do their job at a high level, then of course you say, 'Well, we don't really need to focus in that area. But, again, this league is a tough league to win in, and if someone comes along who is special in any way, then you want to have that discussion."
- Grigson reiterating several times that the focus for the franchise's defense is to stop the run. Period. "Our focus is, I don't feel like as an organization, Chuck I know doesn't feel like - from his defensive standpoint - that he wants people to run the ball down our throat anymore." We went on to say, "We have implemented players that have the mentality of stopping the run." He cited Erik Walden as an example of such a player.
- When asked if the Colts are looking for a pass rusher to replace Dwight Freeney, Grigson answered, "Sure. I'm not going to discount anything." He also said there are young players "developing in the shadows," like free agent acquisition Lawrence Sidbury.
- Aside from quarterback, all positions are being looked at in the draft.
- On whether he cares about the mock draft cottage industry, Grigson surprised many, "I'd be lying if I didn't say I don't look at it. I mean, it's kind of like reading my morning paper. When I get here early in the morning and I go through my routine, and drink my coffee and put on the music and go through the emails, I like one of my assistants give me the latest mock draft just to see the groupings of players. Those guys talk to people in the NFL. They talk to NFL personnel. So, there has to be some merit to it. We've always done it anywhere I've ever been."
More on mock drafts: "Every once and a while, you'll see someone creep into one that you thought had first round value, but you didn't think anyone else really did, then you kind of feel that maybe the cat's out of the bag because everyone's seeing his name in that light now. So, there's something to be said for that."
- When asked if the people doing mock drafts have done a good job nailing down the Colts needs and possibilities, Grigson smiled and answered, "No." The room burst out laughing.
- An interesting moment in the presser was when Grigson started talking about how he and is staff are getting better at identifying "body types" for the 3-4 defense. "You can tell a 4-3 type player now just by their mannerisms," he said. With the 3-4 body types, the mantra of "stop the run" is critical to Grigson. "It's a pride thing," he said. He also praised the coaches, in particular Greg Manusky, for doing such a good job playing smaller under-tackles at the 5 technique last year. Grigson said the coaches "got it done with grit and determination."
- More on body types, "We're trying to have the right body type to be successful."
- When asked about drafting players who may have off-the-field concerns, Grigson said he thinks of this franchise as "The House of Lazarus." If guy has talent, he will give them a second chance. Grigson said pre-draft player visits are about asking a prospect with possible character concerns, "Why should we trust you" to draft you?
- The Colts want to achieve balance on offense, Grigson said. They want to remain versatile enough to play the best players. Obviously, there are exceptions. "You can't play a 240 lb. nose guard. But, there has to be balance."
- Grigson called the draft "the life blood of team." He said he wants guys who aren't just looking for a pay check. They want to win championships.
Overall, great info and insight from the Colts second-year general manager who seems to be much more settled into his role and position than he was a year ago.