The Colts Productions team has unveiled a unique and in-depth look into the NFL Draft process called “With the Next Pick.” The five part series will air each Wednesday at 8pm ET. Here is an overview of the first two episodes.
The first episode entitled “Are We Going to Draft This Guy?” aired on Colts.com April 3. Beginning with the disappointing loss in Kansas City in January, the video focuses on the team’s early postseason work in looking forward to what lies ahead. Head coach Frank Reich makes sure to shake hands or hug each player in the locker room as he recognizes the hard work and dedication his team put in during the season. “I know we’re disappointed about today,” he said, “but man, I love what we’ve got. I love what we’ve done here. I cannot tell you how much I love you for the effort that was put forth this year, and the strides we made as a team.”
“It’s hard to get to Everest the very first time you climb it. But I have learned this: even though we didn’t get the whole way to the top this year, we got pretty far up that mountain. And you know what? That makes us learn for the next time. We’ll make the whole way up there next time.”
The Colts began the 2018 season in a 1-5 hole and snapped into a winning streak midway through the season, winning ten of their last 11 games. Tight end Eric Ebron also spoke to his team in the locker room following the loss at Kansas City.
“Ain’t nobody take nothing from us and what we did this year,” Ebron said to his teammates. I appreciate y’all, I love y’all. We know this ---- isn’t going to be the same next year, that’s how it is. But we’ve got a ------- team, boy.”
The majority of the first episode features Colts’ general manager Chris Ballard diligently watching game film and jotting down notes about players that might fit the Colts’ system. Ballard also speaks highly of his team, noting the camaraderie in the locker room and the tight-knit nature of this team.
“We still have work to do,” Ballard said. “But it does tell us that we’ve got the locker room going in the right direction. We have a bunch of guys that hold each other accountable, that do care about winning. Winning means something to them, their performance means something to them and their teammates mean something to them. That’s a positive thing for us going forward.”
A look inside the Colts’ draft room will feature a handful of personnel and scouting interns carefully studying college athletes in the hopes of putting together as successful a draft as they had last year. Ballard makes it clear that every person in the draft room is of vital importance.
The 2018 draft featured some serious impact players, including Pro Bowl guard Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard - who was awarded Defensive Rookie of the Year.
“When we step in this draft room, all titles go out the door, including mine. “One of the biggest things is tell me what you think,” Ballard said to his coworkers. “Tell me what you really think. I didn’t hire you to tell you what to do; I hired you to tell me what you think in your expertise and the work you’ve done.
Each scout throws in his two cents on various players, noting their strengths and weaknesses and how they could be a valuable addition to the Colts’ program.
“At the end of the day we’re trying to get it right for the Colts,” Ballard said.
The final moments of episode one presents the most important piece of this offseason. Ed Dodds, the Colts’ assistant GM, looks at Ballard and asks, “Are we going to draft this guy?”
Episode two aired Wednesday, April 10 and offers a more in-depth look at the Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl. While episode one focused mostly on Ballard’s role in the draft process, episode two features the work that Dodds does for the team.
“Some of these needs may be addressed in free agency and some may not,” Dodds said. “We gotta outwork people. That’s how we’re gonna get better.”
“We ain’t done ---- yet. We won a ------- wild card game.”
Entitled ‘Love the Process’ – episode two transitions from the Colts’ draft room to Mobile, Ala. where more members of Colts’ personnel are introduced during the scouting process. Morocco Brown, the Director of College Scouting, explains the ins and outs of interviewing players – focusing on the fact that the ‘highlight reel’ isn’t necessarily the most important factor.
“Having been through the draft that we had last year with how many guys we hit on, you can see the value of just being tireless and just continuing to go until you know what you need to know,” Brown said.
Rather than focusing on what a player did or did not achieve in college, Colts scouts want to know a player’s story. Asking questions about their leadership history, how they imagine they will transition into the NFL and why they think they’d be a good addition to the team.
“The people the Colts want to bring in, the people we want to put out in the community, we find all that out,” Dodds said. “If they don’t fit the profile, we’re not drafting them.
Flash forward to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis where Kevin Rogers, the Colts’ Director of Pro Personnel, describes the comprehensive process of how the team goes about choosing players.
“It starts with the 40s, then they move into the positional drills, and obviously you wanna see how the guys compete, how they move,” Rogers said. “It’s really our third look through a lot of these guys. We see them in the fall in the college visits, and then we get them at the all-star games. This is kind of the next step. Drafting a player is really more about who they are than what they are.”
In the closing scene, Ballard delivers a toast at a Combine dinner, acknowledging the role that each person has played in winning games. “You all impact winning,” he said. “Your job is critical for what we do going forward.”
“What we all thrive on is we love the chase. We love the process. We love the ability to challenge and influence each other. That’s what we’ll continue to thrive on. Each and every one of us will continue to thrive on getting better each and every day to create something that is really special. That’s the goal. To create something that other people haven’t done. And that is freaking hard – we all know it – but damn, we’re gonna do it.”
Ballard encourages everyone to continue to work hard to create a team that can win a Super Bowl. He lifts a glass and closes the toast with an iconic line – “to kicking everybody’s ---.”
To watch the first two episodes follow along With The Next Pick through May 1, visit www.Colts.com/NextPick, @Colts on Instagram and Twitter, the Colts Facebook page or on the Colts official app.