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Counting Down Colts Draft Picks of the Past: RB Edgerrin James

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NFL Football 2004 - Bears vs. Colts Photo by John Kavouris/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Colts GM Chris Ballard has regularly stated that his philosophy is that you build teams through the draft. That makes this time of year critical to the Colts’ long term success. So in the lead up to this year’s draft, I wanted to do something to honor some of the meaningful draft picks that the Colts have made in their time in Indianapolis. These players have helped to tell the story of the Colts franchise we love. Every day leading up to the draft, we’ll drop a story about a different player from Indianapolis Colts draft history.

Today we’re talking about the Colts all-time great running back, Edgerrin James. Selected 4th overall in the 1999 draft, Edgerrin James was an explosive player who, when added to the duo of Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, helped provide a prolific rushing attack immediately. While many initially thought that his selection over heisman winner Ricky Williams was a mistake, his rookie campaign stopped that criticism dead.

As a rookie, he rushed for 1,553 yards and 13 touchdowns, adding another 586 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns through the air. He was a dangerous weapon and was given the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

While many rookie running backs find early success, it is somewhat unusual to surpass a season like the one James had as a rookie, but that is exactly what he did in his second season. As a Colt, James topped 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 3 separate seasons and had 11 or more all-purpose touchdowns in 4 different seasons.

He was named to four Pro Bowls, 4 All-Pros, and was the the NFL rushing leader twice in his time with Indianapolis. Additionally, James remains the Colts’ all-time rushing leader and rushing touchdown leader.

The combined forces of the “Triplets” wrought an era of offensive dominance to the Colts that has rarely been seen in the NFL. James was an electrifying player whose abilities in the running game have not been seen in Indy ever since. He was a key part of what is thought by most to be the best Colts team as a whole, the 2005 squad.

Perhaps the biggest shame of James’ career is that he left in free agency to join the Arizona Cardinals and missed out on the Colts’ Super Bowl win by a year. If you were one of those who got to watch “Edge” do his thing, you know just how special he was, and that the Colts were fortunate to have him for the time that they did. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame with the 2020 class ahead of the upcoming season.

What is your favorite Edge memory?