Rebuilding a franchise requires risk. A lot of it. It takes a general manager who is willing to make moves, and a big part of that is with trades.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was no different. Taking over for a Colts team that was an awful 2-14 in 2011, Grigson went to work last offseason trying to rebuild the franchise. He was handed the number one overall pick in a draft that had the best prospect since John Elway in Andrew Luck, but Grigson made several other moves that played an essential part of the Colts' playoff run in 2012. Two of the biggest ones came through trades involving draft picks from this year's draft.
If you thought cornerback was a need this year... you should have seen it last year. I mean, Kevin Thomas was in the running to be a starter when training camp started. So as the regular season quickly approached, Ryan Grigson made a major move to get a very good player at the position who would play a big role in the Colts' success this past season. He traded this year's second round pick (along with a conditional 6th round pick this year that the Colts ended up not having to give due to Davis' time missed) to the Miami Dolphins for cornerback Vontae Davis. Davis was entering his third season and was seen as a young corner with a ton of potential. He certainly showed that potential this year. While early on he was pretty bad, as the season went on we saw A LOT of improvement from Davis and, in the final few games, he played a huge role - especially considering the fact that Jerraud Powers was on injured reserve. Overall, Davis played in and started 10 games, notching 51 tackles, 1 sack, 3 interceptions, and 7 pass deflections.
The Colts loved T.Y. Hilton enough last year in the draft that they were willing to trade up for him. They gave the 49ers their 4th round pick last year and their 5th round pick this year in exchange for San Francisco's 3rd rounder a year ago, which they used to take the small, speedy wide receiver out of Florida International. The pick turned out to be a HUGE steal. Hilton was a major factor in the Colts' offense last year, playing in all but one game and catching 50 passes for 861 yards and 7 touchdowns, as well as adding another touchdown on a punt return. Had the Colts not made that trade to get Hilton, they would not have been a playoff team last year. No way. I think the same could probably be said of Davis as well.
Considering that, I'd call the use of both their 2nd and 5th round picks home runs for the Colts. They used the picks to get Vontae Davis and T.Y. Hilton. Let me ask you this - what player could the Colts have gotten with either the 54th or 157th overall picks that you would rather have than Davis or Hilton? There is none. Not just the experience that the two have, but they are more talented than most players they could take with their picks there too.
So, while this doesn't technically work or anything, the Colts kinda had the best second round of any team in the draft in my opinion, and the same can be said of them in the 5th. They actually did select in the fifth round as well, as they gave up their fourth round pick next year in exchange for the Cleveland Browns' 139th overall pick this year - and they used that pick to select Tennessee-Martin DT Montori Hughes.
And let me just conclude with this: with the 54th overall pick the Miami Dolphins took Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor, and with the 157th overall pick the San Francisco 49ers selected Alabama defensive end Quinton Dial. No offense intended whatsoever against those two, but I would much, much rather have Vontae Davis and T.Y. Hilton. Not only did they play integral parts in leading the Colts to the playoffs last year, but they look to be a part of a foundation that makes several more playoff appearances in years to come. So while the Colts technically didn't use their second or fifth round picks this year, they did indeed put them to good use - better use than they would have if they had actually selected.