The Indianapolis Colts took a best player available approach in the 2016 NFL Draft, which led to them taking an offensive line-heavy class. Interestingly enough, however, there was a player they really, really liked but never got around to taking with any of their picks as other players remained available.
According to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder, the Colts began to give “serious consideration” to drafting Illinois running back Josh Ferguson in the fourth round, but each time their pick rolled around someone else took precedent. Holder writes that the Colts assumed someone else would grab Ferguson and the Colts would be left to wonder whether they blew it, but the running back surprisingly went undrafted. At that point, the Colts called up Ferguson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and told him to name the price. That price was a $10,000 signing bonus (a large sum for an undrafted rookie), but the Colts agreed.
We had heard about the fact that Ferguson received a significant signing bonus, but Holder’s report gives even more information to the situation that continues to paint the picture of a guy the Colts really, really like. If they liked him that much it’s a bit curious that they didn’t use one of their seventh round picks on him, but in hindsight it worked out as they got the running back as a free agent.
We’ve long thought Ferguson is a player to keep an eye on for the Colts entering training camp, and the more we hear about him and about how the Colts acquired him suggests it all the more. Head coach Chuck Pagano said last week that Ferguson “looks really good” and that he’s more than simply a third down back.
The Colts have their backup running back jobs open behind Frank Gore, and they didn’t add anyone with a draft pick. The only players added were a couple of smaller free agents (Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman) and Ferguson, an undrafted free agent. While it will be a competition, it would appear as if Ferguson has as good of a shot as anyone to earn the number two running back spot. At Illinois he proved to be a dangerous player in both the rushing and receiving games, which would be a perfect fit for the backup to Gore as a change-of-pace back. Again, there’s only so much we can tell from offseason work and the real test will come in training camp and preseason, but it has been clear ever since the Colts signed him that Josh Ferguson is someone to keep an eye on. This most recent report from Stephen Holder just further confirms that by helping us realize even more that the Colts really like the young back.