If you were to ask Colts fans what the best draft pick of the Ryan Grigson era thus far has been, I would almost guarantee that the answer of almost every fan would be either Andrew Luck or T.Y. Hilton. Luck has been the better player, but many would give the nod to Hilton due to the fact that he was drafted in the third round versus Luck being taken first overall.
Either way, I would certainly agree that those two players occupy the top two spots on the list of Ryan Grigson's best draft picks, and they are two of the brightest young stars at their respective positions in the entire NFL and two of the cornerstones of this Colts team.
In real life, it worked out tremendously well for the Colts. But in ESPN's recent re-draft of the top ten picks of the 2012 Draft, things didn't work out nearly as well for the Colts. ESPN still had the Colts taking Luck with the first overall pick, which is even more of a no-brainer now than it was at the time, and so the team still would win up with their franchise player.
But Hilton? In ESPN's re-draft he'd also be a top ten pick, being taken at number eight:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Today on NFL LIVE, we re-drafted the 2012 class. <a href="https://twitter.com/Colts">@Colts</a> Andrew Luck would still be No. 1 overall -> <a href="http://t.co/CyU8xnmTXu">pic.twitter.com/CyU8xnmTXu</a></p>— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNNFL/status/583370781306032130">April 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
In reality, the number eight pick belonged to the Miami Dolphins in 2012, and they used it to take quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I actually think that Tannehill has done a good job in his first three seasons in Miami, but in this re-draft Hilton would wind up with Miami instead.
I think it goes without saying that the way things turned out in reality is much, much better for the Colts than the way it worked in ESPN's re-draft. In their first three years together, Luck and Hilton have hooked up 250 times for 3,893 yards and 21 touchdowns in 52 games (including playoffs), already developing into one of the better quarterback/wide receiver duos in the NFL. Both players made the Pro Bowl in 2014 after terrific seasons, and with both also being just 25 years old, the sky is the limit for the duo in the coming years.
The Colts actually did end up with two top ten picks in the 2012 Draft in Luck and running back Trent Richardson, but that didn't work out well at all, as we know. Things would have been even worse, however, if they hadn't had Hilton (maybe that's a subject for Ben's 'what if' series at some point), and so it worked out quite well in reality regarding the two players who would now be in the top ten in a re-draft. Thankfully, both Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton will be wearing blue and white for many years to come.