clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Colts nearly drafted Clay Matthews in 2009

Colts owner Jim Irsay shared an interesting tidbit on Saturday when he said that the Colts had Clay Matthews on their draft card in 2009 before the Packers traded in front of Indy to take the linebacker.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft can often be a disappointing, frustrating, and confusing time for teams, as they don't always get the player they were hoping for.  This happens as a result of other teams taking players and things like that, but the reality is that some teams are left disappointed by those who are taken before them.

This year for the Colts, that wasn't the case.  They got their guy in Alabama center Ryan Kelly, and he had been their target for months, according to general manager Ryan Grigson.  Owner Jim Irsay took it one step further in saying that it was "quite incredible" the way they were able to grab guys in other rounds who were still there unexpectedly.  In other words, the Colts didn't have that disappointing, heartbreaking moment in this year's draft, though Irsay is certainly familiar with that feeling.

As he was talking about how the Colts got who they wanted in the draft and how they liked their picks, Irsay also mentioned a very interesting tidbit from a draft seven years ago: the Colts really wanted to draft Clay Matthews in 2009.

"We didn't have any heartbreaking moments [this year] like we had with Clay Matthews when we had the card in the hand and Green Bay made the trade with New England," Irsay said.  "We didn't have any of those moments.  We really feel good about things and I think we are going to be a lot better football team with the way things have gone with this draft."

The Colts had Matthews' name on the card and were all ready to turn it in at pick number 27 in the 2009 NFL Draft, but the Packers then traded with the Patriots to jump one spot ahead of Indy and take the USC linebacker.  All of the sudden, the player the Colts wanted was gone - something Irsay referred to as a heartbreak.  Instead, the Colts drafted UConn running back Donald Brown.

Brown went on to have a solid tenure with the Colts, playing five years in Indy and rushing for 2,377 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 4.3 yards per carry and catching 83 passes for 767 yards and two scores.  Brown was a rare bright spot in the disappointing 2011 campaign and did a great job in 2013, but overall he didn't have the impact the Colts thought he could have - or that Clay Matthews could have had.  In seven seasons with the Packers, Matthews has played in 101 games (starting 98) and has recorded 372 tackles, 67.5 sacks, 35 passes defensed, six interceptions, and 12 forced fumbles.  He has had four double-digit sack seasons in Green Bay, has made six Pro Bowls, and was named a first-team All-Pro in 2010.

It's easy to think of what might have been, as the Colts could have drafted a guy who has had a very good career and has been able to get after the quarterback - something the Colts have really struggled with in recent years.  The Colts were ready to draft him and had his name on their draft card in 2009, but the Packers jumped them to take Matthews.  That just goes to show you how quickly things can change in the NFL, particularly when it comes to the draft.