The first round of the NFL Draft is tonight, so we're almost there! For Colts fans, however, we'll likely have to wait a little bit longer to find out the Colts' pick, as they don't select until the 29th overall pick in the first round. While there's certainly the chance of them trading up, that's not likely and they are currently projected to pick 29th. That makes it harder to predict who they might take, as we don't know who will be available at that point, but Colts general manager Ryan Grigson gave us some insight as to what the team's mindset will be entering the draft.
"Well because I don't want you guys griping and complaining when you leave, I want to give you as much as I can," Grigson joked with the media at his pre-draft press conference last week before continuing on about the Colts' mindset. "The best player available mentality is I think the healthiest mentality to have especially when I feel like for the most part, the roster looks pretty balanced. We have some areas of concern but there's always those no matter what stage of the game you're in - regular season, offseason, or what have you. There's always going to be some areas that you have that you think are healthy. Then you get through two weeks at training camp and all of a sudden, it's a big epidemic.
"Another problem when you're sitting there and the board is shaping up and a player is falling to you that you really liked, then after the combine re-checks and things like that, then all of a sudden your doctors feel a little queasy about a guy that you really liked at 29. That kind of throws a monkey wrench in your plans as well. There's a lot of things that factor. There's guys that are off the board for character. It's not just a big talent grab. You have to be pretty specific and again, a lot of times, you really hope and pray that somebody you thought would be at picks 15 through 20 falls to that spot at the bottom of the draft because other areas I feel are pretty deep. We're hoping that happens and we don't get stuck."
Grigson notes that they approach the draft with a best player available mentality, and this is typically the best approach. Drafting based on need is fine when the need is crucial, but it also can result in reaching for a player. Drafting based on value and talent, however, is the best option to flood your team with good players and then find a place for them. Obviously, the Colts won't be taking a quarterback with an early draft pick, and we could probably safely rule out tight end and left tackle too. So there are some positions that are excluded from this best player mentality thinking, but for the most part it's a good way to approach it. With that said, however, Grigson didn't specify how they determine the best player available, because certainly the larger the need the "better" that player might look on a draft board.
Ultimately, what we can expect on Thursday night from the Colts is a lot of waiting (and hoping). The Colts will be monitoring the board and the phones seeing who is taken. When the Colts' pick rolls around, look for them to target the best player available, though that might be influenced by their positions of need. The good news out of all of this is that we won't have to speculate for much longer, because by the end of tonight we'll know what the Colts have done with their first round pick - either selecting a player or trading their pick, at least we'll know their approach.
Hang in there Colts fans; the draft is almost here!