The Best Indianapolis Colts Draft Pick EVER.
After going year-by-year through the Colts’ draft choices, some things became very obvious.
- Jim Irsay wasn’t very good at using his first-round picks, but had a strange knack for finding guys in the later rounds who would have long, productive careers with the team.
- Bill Tobin, by contrast, nailed all of his first-round picks, but couldn’t put together a good enough team to keep his job.
- Bill Polian usually hit a home run with at least one pick each draft, at least for the first half of his tenure with the Colts—he had to in order to keep a cheap team around Peyton Manning’s monster contract.
- Chris Polian’s only redeeming quality was drafting Anthony Castonzo.
- Ryan Grigson has drafted several outstanding players whose play looks to be trending upwards, but he’s also drafted several players who haven’t lived up to their draft position.
Taking the Stampede Blue readers’ votes into consideration, we have come up with the "battle royal" to determine the true victor. We’ve taken the top two vote-getters in each of the previous articles and thrown them all together. We now present to you your choices for the best Indianapolis Colts draft pick ever.
Eugene Daniel (1984)
Taken in the 8th round by Jim Irsay, Eugene Daniel went on to be a 13-year starter at CB for the Colts. By just four votes, Eugene Daniel edged out our next contestant for best pick of the Jim Irsay era.
Ray Buchanan (1993)
"Big Play Ray was only with the team for four years (3 as a starter), but made a name for himself by raking in 16 interceptions over three seasons (3 pick-sixes) before joining the Atlanta Falcons. He later became a Pro-Bowl Cornerback.
Marvin Harrison (1996)
Without a doubt, Harrison was the best pick that Bill Tobin ever made. In fact, Harrison received (as of this writing) 332 first-place votes. The runner-up only has 17. Marvin should be in the Hall of Fame, and may be the best route-running WR the Colts have ever had. He also had a knack for catching the ball and keeping his feet in bounds. Peyton Manning was a great QB, but when he was drafted, one of the things he told the media was that he was excited to play with Marvin.
Tarik Glenn (1997)
Beating Marshall Faulk by a single vote, Tarik Glenn makes the final! Glenn was the man who kept Peyton Manning upright for the first half of his Colts’ career. The Colts haven’t had a truly great LT since Tarik retired—until Anthony Castonzo.
Peyton Manning (1998)
Taken with the first pick in the draft, Peyton was expected to be something special. But in the years that followed, he far exceeded those expectations. It took him a while, and it’s worth noting that after four seasons, Peyton’s record as a starter was 32-34 (including two playoff losses). But starting in 2002, he led the Colts to the playoffs every season until 2011, when he was out for the year. Peyton redefined what it meant to be a QB, and it is through his play that the Colts became a true perennial contender. He is easily Bill Polian’s best draft pick.
Reggie Wayne (2001)
Reggie just barely beat out Robert Mathis for this spot—they were within five votes of each other. Reggie was drafted in the first round amid shouts of anger from Colts fans who wanted Polian to draft someone on defense (the Colts defense stunk for years). But since then, Reggie has grown to become a border-line hall-of-famer (I’d say sure-fire, but I’m a Colts homer), and one of the most beloved Colts players ever. He cemented his legacy in Colts fans’ hearts when he turned down more lucrative offers and stayed to help the Colts in their rebuilding efforts. He will be in the Colts’ Ring of Honor.
Antoine Bethea (2006)
Bethea’s place here is partly because of his 8-year stint in Indy, partly because he far exceeded expectations (he was a 6th-round pick), and partly because he was a two-time pro bowler who started at both safety spots and grabbed 18 interceptions. Of the last seven years of the Polian regime, Bethea was chosen to be the best pick.
Anthony Castonzo (2011)
The Colts were in desperate need of a solid left tackle—and had been ever since Tarik Glenn retired, and Anthony Castonzo was sitting right there waiting to be taken. He has been the best O-linemen on the team ever since, and is Andrew Luck’s blindside protector.
Andrew Luck (2012)
Like Peyton Manning before him, Andrew Luck was the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, and he had some heavy expectations when the Colts picked him. But like Peyton, Andrew Luck has far exceeded them. The only difference? Andrew has exceeded them much quicker. Luck is an elite QB who is dangerous with his arm, his mind, and his feet.
T.Y. Hilton (2012)
Hilton got the #2 nod of the Grigson era, and it’s not even close. For a third-round selection, Hilton has out-performed what anyone could have reasonably expected from him. He is averaging over 1,000 yards receiving per season, and looks primed to continue his success again this year. There is no denying the value that the Colts got from this pick—we’d be happy with his stats if he was picked in the first round. He has improved with each season, and may end up making us say "Marvin who?"
There you have it. Ten men representing the very best choices made in the NFL Draft by our beloved Indianapolis Colts. It’s almost a given that Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck will be the top vote-getter, but before you vote, think about their value to the team, and think about their value in terms of where they were drafted vs. their actual output.
The time has come: make your choice!
Please rank your top 4 in the comments