For what it's worth, I gave Colts general manager a post-draft grade of A- following the final selection of Mr. Irrelevant, tight end Justice Cunningham, at the conclusion of the 2013 NFL Draft. Five months later, it seemed as though his draft haul simply wasn't ready to contribute right away. Five months after that, it's now a fact that they didn't contribute much.
At the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, all the enthusiasm Grigson exuded last year of creating a "cauldron of competition" with his picks is now tempered with more sober language. Instead of praising his 2013 prospects for exhibiting starter traits, Grigson is now calling them "works in progress."
No, that's not an endearing phrase/
From Mike Wells at ESPN:
"I think we were in a different place in 2013 than we were in 2012. In 2012 it was kind of, the more the merrier. It was throw everybody in a bottle and see what comes out. In Year 2, we had players who had earned their spots, we had more guys established at positions. So, it's a good problem to have."
When you wipe away the B.S., the truth underneath Grigson's words reads that the club is now less hopeful about the growth potential of their 2013 prospects. I'm sure others will read this differently, and that's fine. Just please know that I've seen this kind of stuff uttered before, and rarely does the term "work in progress" translate into a positive description when it comes to a drafted player.
Guys like Daniel Adongo and Josh McNary are "works in progress." Players like Bjoern Werner and Khaled Holmes should be "progressed" by this point into something that resembles a "good" or "solid" contributor. Neither were in 2013.
Players like Werner and third round pick Hugh Thornton struggled last season. This despite both seeing significant snaps. As Wells notes, both were the only two players from the 2013 class to start games. Werner started one and Thornton started in 12. They're also the only two players to play more than 68 snaps in 2013. Meanwhile, despite being healthy while the rest of the Colts offensive line resembled AMC's The Walking Dead, rookie center Khaled Holmes only saw 13 total snaps, with most of them as a tight end on power running plays.
Pardon me for being a snarky cynic, but Grigson's excuse for the rookies' poor showing - that the Colts "had more guys established at positions" - is laughable. Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn were "established?" Get outta here with that!
As we and others have suggested, 2014 is a big draft year for Ryan Grigson. His 2012 picks were mostly gold, and their early success was a big reason why Grigson won the 2012 NFL Executive of the Year. However, his 2013 picks were turds, and his poor decisions in free agency that year suggest that 2012 might have been a fluke.
Grigson has 2014 to redeem himself and prove that is was 2013 that was the fluke.