We've talked plenty this offseason about head coaching rankings and about how Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was ranked the 11th best head coach in the league by Sporting News and the 16th best coach by ESPN.
Now, Sporting News has released their rankings of the NFL general managers, and they have Colts GM Ryan Grigson tenth overall.
"Nice start to a general-managing career. Grigson was 39 when Jim Irsay put him in charge of the post-Peyton Manning franchise overall, and since that final 2-14 season with Manning out, the Colts (and Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck) have gone to the playoffs in back-to-back years and beat the Chiefs last season in an electric comeback. The expectations ratchet up this year, particularly for Luck, but for Grigson, too - the Manning era set a high standard."
Ahead of Grigson are Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome (1), Green Bay's Ted Thompson (2), New York (Giants) Jerry Reese (3), Seattle's John Schneider (4), New England's Bill Belichick (5), San Francisco's Trent Baalke (6), New Orleans' Micky Loomis (7), Denver's John Elway (8), and Pittsburgh's Kevin Colbert (9). While I have some questions about a few of the rankings (for instance, while Bill Belichick is one of the greatest head coaches of all time, he's not the 5th best GM in the league today), I think Grigson's ranking is pretty accurate.
If you've been reading this site for any length of time, you know my hesitations about Ryan Grigson. His first year was absolutely brilliant. That draft saw him take Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton, Josh Chapman, and Vick Ballard as his first picks. He NAILED it. Then he added guys like Cory Redding and Jerrell Freeman and brought back Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis. His first year as the GM of the Colts, despite rebuilding and strapped with a number of salary cap problems and a ton of dead money, was tremendous. He won the Executive of the Year award that year and it couldn't have been more deserved.
The following offseason, however, Grigson missed on some deals - such as LaRon Landry, Ricky Jean Francois, Erik Walden, etc. The problem wasn't the player, it was the contract. Then his draft didn't produce last year, and while it's too early to call them busts, it wasn't too encouraging either. Oh, and he also traded his first round pick for Trent Richardson in-season.
This year, there have been some good moves. The moves to bring in guys like Arthur Jones, Hakeem Nicks, and D'Qwell Jackson all should help. His draft didn't look good at the time, but it's looking better now and it's too early to base anything off of that.
Ultimately, it seems many Colts fans are still undecided about Ryan Grigson, and I'm right there with them. After his first year, it seems like his moves haven't been great, and almost every player you'd consider a "key" contributor this year was brought in that first year. This season will be a big one for Grigson, but despite all the questions, I think it's absolutely fair (and right) to rank Grigson tenth among his fellow general managers.