The NFL Draft is just one week away, and because of that Colts general manager Ryan Grigson held his pre-draft press conference this afternoon to discuss the draft. And he noted that, "the best player available mentality is the healthiest mentality to have."
He talked about a lot of different positions in the draft during his presser. Regarding the defensive line Grigson said that, "there's some quality defensive linemen in this class." About the running back position, Grigson noted that, "I think it's strong." And about safety, Grigson said, "we've been digging" through their draft board. To nobody's surprise, Grigson wasn't showing his hand regarding what he wants in the draft. But he did make one thing pretty clear: "We want playmakers," he said. "We need playmakers."
Really, the Colts' draft focus - at least in the first round - should be governed by that principle. The Colts are a solid team and they have some pieces on the defensive side of the football, but they really don't have many playmakers whatsoever. These guys are those ones who are difference-makers and game-changers. In short, a playmaker is exactly what the Colts need.
There's a whole lot of average on the Colts' defense right now. D'Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman are solid inside linebackers, but neither are great. Erik Walden is a solid outside linebacker, but that's it. The whole defensive line could be considered solid, but probably nothing more. The safety position, with Mike Adams and Dwight Lowery, is solid. The pass rush is, at best, solid - and last year was most often worse. The cornerback position is the closest the Colts come to having playmakers, as Vontae Davis is a great player and Darius Butler is a good nickel corner. But I think you get the picture that the Colts have an average, solid defense, but they need more. This type of defense is one that will look really good against some lesser opponents and look really bad against some very good opponents - which is exactly what they were last year. That's what a solid defense gives you, and the Colts need to move past that. They need to be a good defense, and to do that, they need playmakers.
The problem is that there are only so many playmakers in the draft, and with the Colts picking 29th overall, they're left waiting. As Grigson said, quoting Jim Irsay, "the draft dictates you, you don't dictate the draft." When you're picking that late in the round especially, it sometimes can be hard to find those playmakers. But that's why the Colts are doing all of this scouting leading up to the draft and that's why they put so much work into it - they're trying to get the best players possible for their team.
What that ultimately boils down to is that the Colts are looking for playmakers. Not every one of their nine picks will be made expecting the player to turn out to be a playmaker, but that has to be the focus going into the draft, and that's what Ryan Grigson noted was what the Colts need. It's good that he realizes that the Colts need playmakers, but it'll be much harder to make it happen, however. Regardless, though, the Colts will enter the draft looking at the best player available on their board but specifically looking for playmakers.