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 wide receiver Andre Rison. When you hear the name Andre Rison, you don’t necessarily think of the Indianapolis Colts. However, in 1989, it was the Colts who selected the receiver 22nd overall. He made an immediate impact, finishing his rookie season with 820 yards and 4 touchdowns and making the tandem of he and Bill Brooks look like a formidable duo for the future. It was hard not to get excited about the potential with two such talented receivers on the roster.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. Ahead of the 1990 NFL Draft, the Colts traded Andre Rison, Chris Hinton, and a fifth round pick to the Atlanta Falcons in order to move all the way up to the first pick overall. That put an end to Rison’s run as Colt, but certainly didn’t dent his success in the NFL.
Over the next four seasons, Rison went to the Pro Bowl and was an All-Pro in every one. That level of talent certainly would have been a major asset to the team, but such is the price of moving up in that way.
The loss of Rison perhaps best illustrates the risks of moving up in the draft to take a franchise quarterback. You are hailed as a genius if your pick works out a la Patrick Mahomes, but if you miss, it really hurts the franchise and really sets you back.
All Colts fans can do is look back and wonder what might have been if Rison had donned the horseshoe more than the one season.