Profile of a Colt: 1st and 2nd Round

We know that the Colts use metrics to reduce the subjective opinion of their scouts . . . We just don’t know what those metrics are. Since the draft, I’ve been scouring the statistics of the last six years of Colts draft picks, trying to find some sort of rhyme or reason to the methodology of how the Colts draft. The goal of this project is to figure out a statistical basis for the prototypical Colt. Therefore, we can attempt to figure out college players who are potential future Colts. If successful, this would narrow the field of possible draft picks considerably and allow us more insight into the draft philosophy of the Colts.

Through this research, I noticed some distinct patterns for three different groups: 1st and 2nd rounders, 3rd and  4th rounders, and 5th, 6th and 7th rounders. Today I will focus on the 1st and 2nd rounders from the 2004-2010 drafts.

Player

Height/Wt

Speed

Production

Degree

Captain

Conference

School Year Drafted

Jerry Hughes DE

6’2/255

4.69

5

Yes

No

MWC

Senior

Pat Angerer LB

6’1/2 /235

4.69

5

Yes

Yes

Big 10

Senior

Donald Brown RB

5’10/210

4.51

5

NA

Yes

Big East

Junior

Fili Moala DT

6’4/303

5.07

4

Yes

No

Pac 10

Senior

Mike Pollak OG

6’4/300

4.92

4

Yes

Yes

Pac 10

Senior

Anthony Gonzalez WR

6’0/193

4.44

4

Yes

No

Big 10

Junior

Tony Ugoh OT

6’5/301

5.04

5

Yes

No

SEC

Senior

Joseph Addai RB

5’11/214

4.4

3

Yes

No

SEC

Senior

Tim Jennings DB

5’8/186

4.47

4

Yes

No

SEC

Senior

Marlin Jackson DB

6’0/196

4.52

5

Yes

Yes

Big 10

Senior

Kelvin Hayden DB

5’10/198

4.4

3

Yes

No

Big 10

Senior

Bob Sanders DB

5’8/206

4.41

5

Yes

Yes

Big 10

Senior

In the last seven drafts, the Colts have had 12 1st and 2nd round selections. Out of those 12, 10 have been seniors when drafted, 11 were in BCS conferences, five were team captains, and at least 11 graduated from their institution of higher learning (I was unable to find a definitive source on if Donald Brown graduated).

Concerning the measurables, height does not seem to be an issue (a big duh from anyone whose watched the Colts in the last 5 years). However, speed is crucial. Other than Marlin Jackson, every Colts’ pick had near elite or elite speed for his position. Regarding Jackson, his speed was still above average, just not elite.

Instead of posting the statistics for each pick under production, I chose to rate it on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being poor, 2 being below average, 3 being average, 4 being above average and 5 being elite. In order to determine what category each player fit into, I compared his stats to those of his teammates and college football as a whole for the year he was drafted. For instance, I gave Donald Brown a 5 as he led the nation in rushing. However, as good as Joseph Addai’s YPA was in college, I could not give him above an average rating (3) in production – he always split carries and never broke 1000 yards in a season. This is not a knock on Addai, just the reality of how LSU chose to use him. The Colts only had 2 picks without above-average or elite production, Addai and Hayden. However, Hayden is a special case as he only played CB for his senior season at Illinois and therefore could not have greater than average production with one year at the position. Half of the Colts picks had elite production, ranking as one of the best at their position statistically for at least one year.

After looking through these statistics, I think they can be categorized into three categories: Should have, might have, and doesn’t matter.

A 1st or 2nd round Colts pick should have been a college graduate, come from a BCS conference, and have at least near elite speed and production for his position.

A 1st and 2nd round Colts pick most likely was a senior, a team captain, and had prototypical weight for his position when drafted.

Height seems to be the only category I studied that was deemed irrelevant to the Colts drafting philosophy.

So what can we learn from these metrics? First, in my opinion, a degree is mandatory for a Colts 1st and 2nd round pick. The dedication it takes to graduate from college while playing football at an elite level is the dedication it takes to be successful in the NFL. The Colts drafting philosophy surely reflects this. Next, when it comes to measurables, speed and production are the most consistent for Colts 1st and 2nd round picks. Colts picks must be fast and productive in college. It is clear that the Colts believe that it is production, and not talent or physical ability, which governs what makes a successful NFL player. Last, and I think most important, is that while the Colts use tools like these, they are willing to make exceptions. Until the Hughes pick, the Colts hadn’t drafted a non-BCS conference player in the 1st or 2nd round since Idrees Bashir in 2002. Even though it seems that Hughes and Hayden do not metrically fit the prototype for a 1st and 2nd round Colt, they were and the team is better off for it.

Based on these statistics, and the fact that Mr. Polian stated Jerry Hughes was the last player the Colts had graded as a first round player, I think it is safe to assume that this was the Colts first round draft board. I have taken off players that I do not believe fit these metrics and listed the remaining in the order they were selected. Even though Tim Tebow fits the profile, the Colts publically stated they would not pick him before the fourth because he’s not a pro-style quarterback. 

Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Russell Okung, Rolando McClain, C.J. Spiller, Brandon Graham, Sean Weatherspoon, Demaryius Thomas, Dan Williams, Devin McCourty, Jared Odrick, Kyle Wilson, Jerry Hughes.

That only makes 16 out of 32 drafted in the first as possible Colts. I’m sure there was a few more that made that list, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were only those 16.

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