INDIANAPOLIS — A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the National Football League Draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Indianapolis added five players — Southern Cal center/offensive guard Khaled Holmes, Tennessee-Martin nose tackle/defensive tackle Montori Hughes, Oregon strong safety John Boyett, Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams, and South Carolina tight end Justice Cunningham — over the final four rounds of this year’s draft, giving the Colts seven new roster additions.
Defensive end/outside linebacker Bjoern Werner (Florida State) and offensive guard/offensive tackle Hugh Thornton (Illinois) were taken during the first two rounds last Thursday and Friday.
"Collectively, we got really good football players [Saturday]," Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson said in reviewing his newest draft class. "Guys that love the game. Guys that love to compete. Guys that were productive in college. And happened to fill some needs at the same time. We got guys that we all think have chances to start from the fourth all the way down to the seventh round. We feel great about what we did [Saturday] as a staff.”
Staying true to the draft board brought success a year ago. The same game plan was followed this weekend as well.
"We stayed true to our [draft] board at the end of the day. Sometimes [head coach Chuck Pagano] would remind me of it. Other times I would remind him of it," Grigson recalled. "You start looking at every angle. You've got stick to your board like we did last year. And that's what we did this year. We feel good that we stayed disciplined. You end up feeling pretty good at the end of the day because you stayed disciplined to your board."