The Indianapolis Colts are holding their rookie minicamp this weekend, and the roster is filled with a mix of players - from those who were drafted by the Colts to those who were undrafted free agents to those who are in camp on just a tryout basis. The reality for most of these players is that they won't end up making the team's 53-man roster and, in fact, a number of them won't even be on the team's 90-man roster entering training camp.
Faced with this reality, the players in camp this weekend will be trying to prove themselves. And Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows that some of these players, most of whom were undrafted, have a good shot to make the team.
"I think it was four [undrafted rookies who made the team] last year," Pagano said during his press conference on Friday. "So certainly we'll point that out to those guys. We'll continue to point that out to them. There's a bunch of guys that are in the Hall of Fame, guys that have played. The James Harrisons of the world. The Tony Romos of the world. Kurt Warner. A bunch of guys got into this league however, whether they're drafted, free agent, tryout guy, don't worry about that.
"My point to them was don't start measuring yourself right now. Worry about you. Worry about, when the day's over, the goal is ‘am I a better football player this afternoon than I was this morning?' And then repeat the same thing tomorrow. And then the final goal of something like this would be to become necessary. Be so good that we can't ignore you."
This is Pagano's mantra when it comes to younger players trying to make a name for themselves, and it's a good one. For these kind of players - the undrafted rookies of the world - they need to stand out. They can't just be average, or else they will be replaced by other players. In order to win a spot on the roster, whether it be the offseason roster or the final 53-man roster, they need to catch the attention of the coaches by standing out. That's what Pagano means by saying to "be so good that we can't ignore you," and it's a good message to younger players facing an uphill battle. If they can simply "become necessary," as Pagano puts it, they'll stand a good chance of sticking around.