Apr 24, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Select NFL prospects stand atop the marquee before for the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Happy NFL Draft Day everyone! The 1st round will begin at 8:00 PM Eastern Time on both the NFL Network and ESPN (or SKY Sports at 1:30 BST for all the Colts fans in the United Kingdom). The 2nd and third rounds will begin on Friday at 6:30 Eastern time, and they’ll finish with rounds 4-7 starting at noon Eastern on Saturday. Indianapolis will be picking 24th in rounds 1,3,4,6, and 7, as well as the 254th and final pick in the draft. The Colts’ draft picks will be introduced by former Colt Left Tackle and three-time Pro Bowler Tarik Glenn, a well-deserved honor and a classy move by the organization.
Yesterday, a few current Colts spoke with the media about the draft among other things, and Running Back Vick Ballard and Quarterback Andrew Luck gave their accounts of what draft day was like from opposite ends of the spectrum. Luck was picked first overall and knew, as most fans did, where he was going to play. “In my case, I sort of knew what was going to happen,” he said. “That maybe took a little bit of the anxiety, apprehension out of it. It is still very, very exciting. For all of the guys in New York, it’s fun. For all of the guys at home, or at school, or wherever they might be, it’s a very interesting day.”
For Ballard, it was more of a matter of if than where. “When I got drafted, it was a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Ballard said. “To me, it was the first step to becoming a professional football player. In no way, shape or form did I think I was in good because I was the last pick of the fifth round. I was just hoping to come in and make the team.” Obviously, he did much more than just make the team. Ballard has transformed his humble, anonymous beginning into an impressive rookie year and a great deal of promise and potential moving forward.
Unless they make a trade, the Colts should be making their selection at number 24 tonight, and, as a well-circulated Wall Street Journal article by Brian Resutek points out, that’s generally a good place to be. When looking at Pro Bowlers, the 24th overall pick holds its own against the number one spot, with 7 eventual Pro Bowl players chosen at 24 since 2002 and 6 drafted first overall.
By their measure, the 24th pick has been the best over the past decade. While a look at advanced stats and value comparisons would probably disprove or at least challenge that notion, it certainly is interesting to see how many successful, productive players have been drafted 24th overall in recent years (from the Colts 2013 Draft Release):
2002 – *SS- Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens
2003 – *TE- Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts
2004 – *RB- Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
2005 – *QB- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2006 – *CB- Johnathan Joseph, Cincinnati Bengals
2007 – *S- Brandon Meriweather, New England Patriots
2008 – *RB- Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
2009 – DT- Peria Jerry, Atlanta Falcons
2010 – WR- Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
2011 – DE- Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints
2012 – G- David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ryan Grigson concurs, in a sense. “Well, if you look back at the last 10 years, there’s usually a pretty good player there,” he said in a recent press conference. “That was one of the first things I did when we got the draft order was to see who has been there. I said, ‘Oh this might not be such a bad spot.’” So, if you’re the betting type, bet on 24 (No, that’s not real gambling advice).
Resutik’s article gives us one more interesting tidbit about the draft and Pro Bowlers:
Of the players selected to the Pro Bowl who entered the league since 2002, 42% were drafted in the first round. But after that, teams can pretty much find their all-stars from anywhere. Second-round selections (15%) and undrafted players (14%) have been selected to the Pro Bowl in near equal numbers. In fact, undrafted players have made more Pro Bowls than players drafted in rounds 5-7 combined.
It’s worth noting that Ryan Grigson said last week; they are willing to trade down if they aren’t excited about anyone left at pick 24. “It’s really going to be a case-by-case basis,” he said last week. “We’ll see how that board starts falling. Of course, if there’s not a player sitting there at 24 that the room is not excited and we’re not high-fiving and things like that and we’re not even doing a little fist bump, we probably shouldn’t take that guy. We’re going to probably look to trade out if there’s a player there we feel is just okay. We want players at that spot, especially in the first round, that are going to substantially help us get to our goal.”
A Few Good Quotes
Grigson (last week) discussing how many players are on the Colts' draft board: “300 or so, you know? I was talking yesterday about it, there’s quite a difference between the 12,000 or so seniors you start out with, 850 or so you get when you’re in meetings in the spring and you whittle those down to 300 or 400, and then you whittle it down to six. You shouldn’t make any mistakes, right?”
Darrius Heyward-Bey on Andrew Luck: “Yeah, I think he has potential to be one of the best quarterbacks that ever played. I wanted to go somewhere where I was wanted, to a good organization and a chance to go to the playoffs. I haven’t been yet.”
Heyward-Bey on learning the new offense: “I’ve been in four different offenses so whatever they throw at me; I’ve got to figure it out like I always have.”
Vick Ballard on the new offense: “It’s a lot more of a power running game, just the type of stuff I like. It’s the power running game with a little zone sprinkled in. It’s kind of what I did in college. I’m just trying to learn all the terminology so I can do my best.”
T.Y. Hilton, also discussing Pep Hamilton’s offense: “It’s very new so I’ve been doing this day in and day out. You’re trying to make sure you pick up where you left off but the offense is brand new. It’s nothing like last year so I’m just trying to pick it up.”
Andrew Luck, on the new guys fitting in: “I think so. I feel like it’s a pretty friendly locker room. I remember coming in last year and guys being very friendly. It’s a fairly common theme I think in this locker room. It’s nice to get to know the new guys.”
Heyward-Bey, once more, on his decision to come to Indy: “Like I said before, it was just a feeling that I had in my heart. I visited a few teams and this just felt like the right move for me.”
Completely Random Colts draft facts:
– In 1984, they drafted Golden Tate’s dad, Golden Tate Jr. out of Tennessee State, in the 5th round (the Seahawks and former Notre Dame receiver is actually Golden Tate III).
– Indianapolis has never picked a safety in the first round.
– Since 1984, Penn State (10) leads in players drafted by Indianapolis, though not a single one of them has reached the Pro Bowl. The most notable names from that group are DE Brad Scioli and CB David Macklin, but it also featured such luminaries as Quintus McDonald (I’m sure McDonald is a good guy, and he was a fine backup linebacker from 89-91, a dark time for the franchise).
– In second place, the University of Illinois has given us 9 Indianapolis Colts, with a few more notable names in Kelvin Hayden, Ken Dilger, Jack Trudeau, and…Jeff George.
– Since moving to Indianapolis in 1984, the Colts have seen 12 of their first round draft picks reach a combined 47 Pro Bowls (All but two were between 1994-2012).
– The Indianapolis Colts have chosen 35 linebackers (5 first rounders), 26 wide receivers (also 5 first rounders), 25 cornerbacks, and 22 safeties. If they choose an outside linebacker or defensive end who can play 3-4 ‘backer in the first round – as many fans hope they will, it will be the first time the team has drafted a linebacker in the first since BYU tackle machine Rob Morris in 2000.
Quotes and information courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department
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