Even though Bill Polian and his son, Chris, were known to be unprofessional, thuggish trolls both within the Colts complex and in league circles, I do not believe that is why they were fired back in January. While their obnoxiousness likely contributed on some level to their pink slips, I think the real reason Jim Irsay kicked them out was their appalling draft record since winning the Super Bowl in 2007.
For all the accolades Bill Polian had showered on him as a talent evaluator, the reality was he was overrated.
You've heard writers like me and Matt Grecco rant for years about how poorly the Polians drafted for this franchise. The cop out, the easy excuse, the lazy analysis for many as they tried to rationalize Indy's 2-14 season last year was, "Peyton Manning got hurt."
That was part of the reason. A big part. However, it wasn't the reason. The Colts went 2-14 because their roster was full of crappy players drafted and signed by Bill and Chris Polian. As a Colts fan, it certainly isn't fun or enjoyable to write this, but the truth sometimes hurts like a steel toe shoe to the groin. If you don't want to believe that the Colts blew chunks at the draft since 2008, fine. Don't take my opinion as gospel.
Instead, read the Colts franchise draft analysis, via Pro Football Focus.
According to writer Khaled Elsayed and the PFF Draft Grader, the Colts failed to draft any bargain, high-value players from 2008-2010, but instead drafted fourteen prospects that were either "not put to good use" or were considered a 'waste" of a pick.
PFF places players into one of nine categories, ranging from +2.0 (which is the equivalent of getting Tom Brady in the sixth round) to -2.0 (a.k.a., drafting JaMarcus Russell).
Only two players during this period were considered worthy of their selection: Pierre Garcon and Pat McAfee. Six players were in the category of "solid contributor" while one (Jerraud Powers) was in the neutral 0.0 classification. The other fourteen players were tagged as disappointments or wasted picks. These players included Mike Pollak, Kevin Thomas, Curtis Painter, and Donald Brown (our team's feature back in 2012... yay!).
The two worst rated players were Fili Moala and Jerry Hughes.
It takes a special kind of talent to join the Colts and become the worst defensive tackle on the roster. That’s Moala who has failed to make any kind of positive impact in grading negatively year on year, picking up a notably bad -37.0 rating over the past three years.
You can never have enough pass rushers right? That depends on whether you have two (like say Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis) who you never want to take off the field in passing situations. After holding out initially, Hughes rarely made his presence felt and is something of a wasted pick.
Both Moala and Hughes are busts, and both should be happy they still have jobs. Of the fourteen players listed as poor picks, eleven are no longer on the team. The only reason Hughes and Moala are still around is because they were first day picks (first and second round, respectively).
It's worth noting Bill Barnwell of Grantland did a similar breakdown of the Colts draft woes back in December 2011.
Because the talent pool is so shallow in Indianapolis, the 2012 NFL Draft will be a very crucial one for the Indianapolis Colts. The franchise has had its Polianoscopy. Now, new G.M. Ryan Grigson must get the most out of ten selections if he and Chuck Pagano are to rebuild the train wreck the Polians left behind.