Yesterday afternoon, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson held his pre-draft press conference, and there were a variety of topics that were discussed. As you can imagine, one such topic was the safety position.
For the Colts, the position can still safely be considered a need. Though the Colts re-signed Mike Adams and signed Dwight Lowery - at least giving them two solid starting options - they could still use someone else, if for no other reason than to develop depth and a long-term option behind the two veterans.
A lot of talk recently has been about Damarious Randall, and while he's a good safety, the best in this rather underwhelming class at the top of the draft remains Alabama's Landon Collins. Grigson was asked about Collins and whether the Colts could get someone later in the draft at the position.
"We've been digging and going through every single player," Grigson said. "The further down you get on your board, the more warts appear with those spots. There might be a guy who plays his tail off and you love the film but then you look at the height, weight, speed and he ran 4.9, so you're like, ‘How am I going to draft a 4.9 safety?' There might be a guy that plays lights out but he's only 185 pounds. You're going to have significant drawbacks in some of those guys later.
"Just like even last year I think, the safety position is tricky to me at least," the general manager continued. "To maybe others not so much, maybe it's more clear to others. There's more of a trend for not the traditional safety anymore. It's more of a free safety type, if you will, that has cover ability, kind of has that corner background. But a guy like Landon, he can do it all. There's only so many of those guys in the draft. There's really not many."
My initial reaction upon hearing Grigson mention about how they're going through every player was to think that he's not thrilled with the safety class, and I still think that is true - but it was interesting what he had to say about Landon Collins at the end. He gave the impression that he really does like Collins - who many say is the only safety worth taking in the first round.
What should we make of all of this? Probably not much. After all, it would have to be a pretty huge slip-up for Grigson to show his hand a week before the draft, so I don't think we should take this as Grigson saying that Collins is their top target or anything like that - because even if Collins is, Grigson wouldn't say it.
With that said, however, it's hard to take away anything other than that Grigson does like Collins, at least to some extent. And while it's a whole different discussion when Grigson went from talking about the need for a coverage safety to then talking up Collins (who really isn't one), the Alabama safety would certainly be a helpful addition. He wouldn't just address a need now but could hopefully give the Colts a longer-term answer at the position as well. He would be good value at pick 29, and while he has some flaws, he's still a good player who would help the Colts. If Landon Collins fell to pick number 29, I think that Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano would very seriously think about taking him.
Another thing that might be gleaned from Grigson's press conference in which he didn't give a ton of information is that he doesn't sound overly thrilled about the safety class. He mentioned how the Colts are going through their draft board and then spent some time taking about how you'll find warts with players. That doesn't at all mean that the Colts won't take a safety in the draft, and in fact if they don't take Collins in the first round I do expect them to take a safety at some point later. But it doesn't sound like Grigson loves this draft class at safety - though he really likes Landon Collins.
Again, what does all of this mean? Not a ton. We should take everything with a grain of salt before the draft, and especially the week before the draft, because there's so much information going on that makes it almost worthless. I mean, when people are comparing smiles of prospects to former busts, you know this time of year is special (and by special, I mean terrible). But when the Colts' GM speaks, we listen and report it, and one of the biggest takeaways from his pre-draft press conference was how he does seem to like Landon Collins at the safety position. That's something to file away for draft night, if nothing else.