With the NFL Draft not too far away, Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg wrote a terrific profile on Colts general manager Ryan Grigson in which he focused on Grigson's tendency to look anywhere and everywhere to discover talent. It's a good, informative read into Grigson and how he operates, and I recommend it.
One nugget in particular from Rosenberg's piece that I think is especially interesting considering that the draft is coming up is that Rosenberg writes that Grigson will not draft a character risk in the first four rounds of the draft:
If you turn over as many stones as the Colts do, you have to be willing to get your hands dirty. Grigson knows that every Super Bowl champion has employed players whom you wouldn't ask to babysit your kids. He will not draft a player he deems a character risk in the first four rounds. After that he will consider it, as long as the player has the potential to be a starter.
"Usually these aren't the cleanest guys, or they don't learn well, or they have some sort of drug issue, or maybe they don't fit in society well," he says. "But between the white lines, they can go all day. That's their sanctuary."
So far, this has been true. There was LaVon Brazill in 2012 - but he was a sixth round pick. There was Montori Hughes in 2013 - but he was a fifth round pick. There was Jonathan Newsome in 2014 - but he was a fifth round pick as well. There was Andrew Jackson in 2014 - but he was a sixth round pick. It's an interesting trend that, so far, has been true of Grigson's first three drafts.
It's an interesting way to approach the draft and, in many ways, it seems like a good principle. There might be a player or two that you deem worth the risk earlier on, but in general this seems like a solid principle to have in place. During his pre-draft press conference, Grigson told the media that, "you can deal with a headache, you just don't want a migraine." Are those players who Grigson labels as a "migraine" the players he doesn't draft in the first four rounds? And is this a universal principle that is in place regardless of any other circumstances? What if a guy with character concerns has a huge fall in the draft and would be incredible value at a key position of need? Would Grigson take him then? This is just a note in the article regarding Grigson's drafting, but it's an interesting note nonetheless.
One more intriguing note from the article as it pertains to the draft is Grigson's emphasis on not changing the draft board based on an impressive workout.
"I don't mess with the board at all postcombine," Grigson says. "I've worked places where it's completely rearranged after the combine. Completely. I've seen a lot of things where I said, That's what I won't do. It's what pisses you off as a scout. We all agreed that this guy was a first-round talent—and now we're moving him to the bottom of the third based on what he did in one drill?"
This shouldn't surprise anyone who knows of Grigson's scouting background (which he still tries to embrace as much as possible with his new job), and it makes a ton of sense why a scout would hate the re-shuffling of the draft board based on workouts after all the work that the scout put in watching film. This typically is a safer way to approach the draft, as often it is the players who are late risers or combine stars who prove not to work out. This philosophy doesn't mean you hit on every pick (obviously, as you can see with the Colts drafts), but it does often provide a safer way to approach the draft.
These are a few interesting points to keep in mind as we approach the draft. How will Ryan Grigson approach guys with character concerns? And how will he approach those late-rising players who jumped out based on an impressive combine or pro day? According to this Sports Illustrated article, it would seem like we shouldn't expect to see an emphasis on either one of those types of players early on in the draft.