EDITOR’S NOTE: As a follow up to Monday’s “Profile of a Colt“, reader Allen Yousif has compiled data on all the Colts’ first and second round picks under Polian. Allen did a ton of work to go back and find measurables from some of the older players. Enjoy.
1998 1.01. Peyton Manning (SEC/ Tennessee) 6-5 1/4, 230, 4.9
Desperately needed a quarterback after trading Jim Harbaugh (35) to the Baltimore Ravens for two draft picks. Chose Manning over Ryan Leaf (Pac-10/ Washington State).
1998 2.32. WR Jerome Pathon (Pac-10/ Washington) 6-0, 187, 4.45
Desperately needed a second wide receiver opposite Marvin Harrison. Pathon started 15 games as a rookie, although it was one-year fill-in veteran Torrence Small who contributed the most with what was the best season (45-681-15.1-7) of his workman career. Playing with a rookie Peyton Manning, mind you.
1999 2.36. LB Mike Peterson (SEC/ Florida) 6-1 1/2, 233, 4.47
Became an immediate starter at weakside linebacker, where the Colts had been using journeymen linebackers in Elijah Alexander and Andre Royal, and remained a starter throughout his contract with the Colts.
2000 1.28. MLB Rob Morris (Mountain West/ BYU) 6-1 7/8, 250, 4.77
As a rookie, Morris only played in 7 games and didn’t start a single one. The next 4 years, he started 60 of 61 games played. But was never a good MLB in Tony Dungy’s defense, Dungy hired in 2002. Did a decent job at SLB in the 2006 Super Bowl run, when Dungy finally relented and let the defense focus more on the run defense after their historically horrific regular season showing.
2000 2.59. DE/LB Marcus Washington (SEC/ Auburn) 6-3 1/4, 252, 4.67
Like Morris, Washington didn’t start a game as a rookie (but did play in all 16). Then played/started every game for the next 3 years except for one. Signed with the Washington Redskins in free agency.
2001 1.22. Traded picks (1.22) with New York Giants (1.30, 3.91, and 6.193)
2001 1.30. WR Reggie Wayne (Big East/ Miami) 6-0, 198, 4.45
Desperately needed a second receiver for Peyton. Played alongside Santana Moss at Miami, had experience as the complement to a highly productive speedster.
2001 2.37. DB Idrees Bashir* (Memphis) 6-2 1/4, 206, 4.56
Desperately needed a free safety to replace long-time Colts player Jason Belser. Started 51 games in 4 years, leaving once his rookie contract was done and the Colts had Bob Sanders ready to step in.
2002 1.11. DE Dwight Freeney (Big East/ Syracuse) 6-0 7/8, 266, 4.48
Needed an impact defensive lineman, chose Freeney over Haynesworth (SEC/ Tennessee). Chad Bratzke was 31 years old for the 2002 season, ended up only playing that year and 2003 for the Colts.
2002 2.42. DT Larry Tripplett (Pac-10/ Washington) 6-1 3/4, 305, 4.93
First draft with Dungy, Tripplett drafted to be better defensive tackle fit in his new defense.
2003 1.24. TE Dallas Clark* (Big Ten/ Iowa) 6-3 3/8, 257, 4.65
Desperately needed a tight end after Ken Dilger left in free agency in 2002, chose Clark over Jason Witten (SEC/ Tennessee). Wanted Troy Polamalu (5-10 1/8, 206, 4.40), he was taken earlier – Pittsburgh in fact traded up from 1.27, with Kansas City, to take him at 1.16.
2003 2.58. S Mike Doss (Big Ten/ Ohio State) 5-10 1/8, 207, 4.45
Desperately needed a strong safety, were forced to play David Gibson and Jason Doering in 2002 following Chad Cota’s departure after 2001. Doss looked like a great prospect and was productive for the Colts. Started 42 games in 4 years, but was pushed out thanks to great combination of Bob Sanders and Antoine Bethea. [Funny side story: no one was more sure the Colts would win the Super Bowl in 2006 than Doss, because he had won a championship in his last year at every level of football he ever played, and was positive that would continue with the Colts in his contract year (2006) - he was of course correct. The Blessing of Doss.]
2004 1.29. Traded picks (1.29, 3.27) with Atlanta (2.06, 3.06 and 4.29)
2004 2.06. Traded picks (2.06) with Pittsburgh (2.12 and 4.11)
2004 2.44. S Bob Sanders (Big Ten/ Iowa) 5-8 3/8, 204, 4.35
Polian loved Sanders, and the team had a 1st round grade on him. But they knew his lack of height (sub 5′ 9″) and a foot injury would allow them to accept trading out of the 1st round, picking up extra picks, and still get him in the mid-2nd. Not sure if safety was major need, although with guys like Idrees Bashir and Cory Byrd accompanying Mike Doss, most likely. Plus Polian feel in love with Sanders. Home run.
2004 2.27. Traded picks (2.27 and 5.29) with Cleveland (3.05, 5.09 and 6.08)
2005 1.29. CB Marlin Jackson (Big Ten/ Michigan) 6-0 5/8, 198, 4.52
Needed a cornerback, chose Jackson over Corey Webster (SEC/ LSU) and Bryant McFadden (ACC/ Florida State). Jackson immediately stepped in as the starting nickel corner. 3.96 3-cone time.
2005 2.60. CB Kelvin Hayen (Big Ten/ Illinois) 5-10 3/8, 197, 4.45
Unrestricted free agent Nick Harper had just been signed to a two-year deal, Donald Strickland had been placed on Injured Reserve four games into the 04 season because of a shoulder injury, and 2004 4th round rookie draft choice Jason David had started 11 games as a rookie. Also, Polian (and presumably his scouts too for the pick to actually happen) really liked Hayden. 3.90 3-cone time.
2006 1.30. RB Joseph Addai (SEC/LSU) 5-11 1/4, 214, 4.40
Desperately needed a runningback after Edgerrin James (28) left in free agency to sign with Arizona, chose Addai over Maurice Jones-Drew (Pac-10/ UCLA) who they also had a 1st round grade on. They thought Jones-Drew’s height (and pre-draft controversy?) would cause him to fall to their 2nd round pick and were going to draft him, but the height/size-obsessed Jacksonville Jaguars surprised by taking him 2 picks earlier. Addai fit a very similar mold to James, with a similar capability of mastering the offense and providing exceptional pass protection.
2006 2.62. CB Tim Jennings (SEC/ Georgia) 5-7 3/4, 185, 4.32
Nick Harper was a year away from unrestricted free agency, Jason David was a year away from restricted free agency, Donald Strickland was waived during the 2005 season and both Von Hutchins and Joseph Jefferson were waived after it.
2007 1.32. Anthony Gonzalez* (Big Ten/ Ohio State) 6-0, 193, 4.44
Desperately needed – in the mind of Peyton and Polian – a slot receiver after cutting Brandon Stokley (6-0, 192). Chose Gonzalez over Steve Smith (Pac-10/ USC). Gonzalez fit a very similar mold to Stokley. I wanted Lamarr Woodley, he was a fantastic Tampa 2 DE, just a fantastic football player period, and the franchise tag was going to be used on Dwight Freeney. Except for 2008 which only consisted of one wildcard game, 2006 would be the last time both Freeney and Mathis were healthy for a complete playoff run. While not as good as Woodley, Gonzalez was/is a very good player and keep in mind the Colts lost long-time stalwart Marvin Harrison to injury that very season (had been dealing with wrist and arms injuries in the Super Bowl run) and then he sharply declined afterwards to the point of outright release and inability to be signed by another team in the league. Gonzalez had experience playing with Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr.
2007 2.42. Tony Ugoh (SEC/ Arkanas) 6-5 1/4, 301, 5.06
Tarik Glenn had one year left on his contract, so the Colts traded New Orleans’ 4th round pick (acquired via Jason David RFA offer sheet compensation) as well as their own 2008 1st round pick to San Francisco to obtain their 2nd round pick for the purpose of drafting Tony Ugoh. The Colts had graded Ugoh as a 1st round talent and would have a year to develop him as the potential replacement to Glenn. However Glenn decided to retire as a champion before the start of the season, thus immediately accelerating Ugoh’s entry into the starting line-up at left tackle. The jewel of Polian’s eye were Ugoh’s fantastic athleticism (participated in the discus on the track & field team) and his 36-inch arm length, but he also did a great job as the three-year starting left tackle at Arkansas and was a smart young man with much promise as a blindside protector.
2007 2.64. Traded to Tampa Bay for DT Anthony McFarland at the 2006 trade deadline
Key to making this trade, for Polian, was that McFarland was signed for not only 2006 but also 2007. Even if it was pricey, this wasn’t a case of him going for a rental player in hockey terms. Although it turned out that McFarland only played that 2006 season for the Colts, as on the first day of training camp the following season, he suffered a knee injury which resulted as career-ending.
2008 1.29. Traded to San Francisco for 2007 2nd round pick (Tony Ugoh)
2008 2.59. Mike Pollak (Pac-10/ Arizona State) 6-3 1/2, 301, 4.99
Jake Scott left in free agency, creating an opening at right guard, but more importantly Jeff Saturday had one year left on his contract and seemed likely to leave given limited cap room. Chose Pollak over Jeremy Zuttah (Big East/ Rutgers), although Zuttah’s experience was at tackle and guard in college.
2009 1.27. RB Donald Brown* (Big East/ Connecticut) 5-10 1/4, 210, 4.46
Not having a sufficient back-up runningback literally cost the 2007 Colts the chance to make back-to-back AFC Championship appearance. They signed Dominic Rhodes for 2008 and he served as a serviceable veteran with Joseph Addai even more injured in 2008 than he was in 2007, but the Colts made no effort to re-sign the aging Rhodes afterwards. Chose Brown over Shonn Greene (Big Ten/ Iowa), Beanie Wells (Big Ten/ Ohio State), and LeSean McCoy (Big East/ Pittsburgh). According to Mike Lombardi, Polian really liked Greene and so the decision wasn’t an easy one. Brown however was/is the best fit for the offense, had/has the best explosion, and the best character and intelligence compared to any of the top backs in the draft class.
2010 1.31. DE Jerry Hughes (Mountain West/ TCU) 6-1 3/4, 255, 4.65
Desperately needed a defensive end to replace the released Raheem Brock. Hughes immediately steps in as the very critical #3 DE who can share snaps with Robert Mathis but also play with him and Dwight Freeney on third downs. Freeney is 30 years old for the 2010 season.
2010 2.63. LB Pat Angerer (Big Ten/ Iowa) 6-0 1/4, 235, 4.64
Re-signed 30-year-old Gary Brackett to a reported 5-year $33M contract with $12-16M guaranteed, but still desperately needed a back-up middle linebacker. Must be noted, Clint Session (5-11 1/8, 236, 4.57) is essentially an unrestricted free agent after 2010.
Summary & Additional Notes/Observations
- All 1st rounders, except for Morris (BYU) and Hughes (TCU), from either the Big East, Big Ten, or the SEC. Reason for this. Not just high level of competition to prove themselves, players demonstrate intelligence, toughness, athletic ability, and skill. Especially Big East and Big Ten, where they play in cold weather.
- Almost all players from big schools/conferences. Guys who are proven.
- Not just seniors, quite a number of juniors selected. Perhaps easier to mold for the Colts.
- No transition projects either, Polian Colts look for guys who do at the college level what they want them to do at the pro level. This is very important.
- Colts’ 1st round picks must immediately contribute, either as a starter or in a secondary role close to it. Mike Lombardi, a wise source on the league, has said that teams in the bottom half in the 1st round just look for guys who can be starters.
- Colts’ 2nd round picks either address an immediate need or are prepared their rookie years to replace for a current starter who will be departing (almost always because of the completion of his contract).
- When a guy who has been successful is gone or will be gone, the Colts look for a player who fits his profile as similar as possible.
- Strong emphasis on great production in the last two seasons played in college. Can’t stress this enough, and it doesn’t just apply to only 1st and 2nd rounders of course, like other factors.
- Don’t overlook measurables. Ex. vertical jump, measure of explosion, usually 35+ (especially 1st rounders).
- If you projecting a safety to the Colts, unless he’s an UDFA, he should have sub-4.5 speed.