The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Ryan Grigson

I'm a fan of Ryan Grigson, on the whole. He made a lot of good moves last year and whilst I didn't like free agency or the draft this time, I do still think he's a good general manager. However, as with all GM's in the NFL, Grigson has made his fair share of bad and ugly moves during his reign in Indianapolis.

The Good

  • Trading for Vontae Davis: His first season was a little up and down, but bar two bad games against Houston and St. Louis, Davis has been excellent this season. A 2nd round pick looked a little steep at the time, but his play in 2013 certainly merits a new contract. There is still some work to be done with Davis, but he's certainly one of the better corners in the NFL.
  • Drafting Andrew Luck: This sounds a bit obvious, but hold on there. At the time of the draft, a lot of analysts were calling for Robert Griffin III to be the #1 pick, not Andrew Luck. Grigson ignored the Heisman hype over Griffin and chose Luck, and right now, it looks to be the perfect decision.
  • Drafting Dwayne Allen: Does anybody not love Dwayne Allen? A fantastic blocker and receiver at tight end, Allen was an undoubted steal in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he's also a very likeable character too. When the pick was made I can't say I was a fan, having seen us take Coby Fleener a round earlier, but it's now apparent why they made the move to get both.
  • Trading up to draft T.Y. Hilton: I didn't even know who Hilton was in 2012 – it was my first draft as a fan and I wasn't as knowledgeable on the mid-round prospects – but Hilton has proven himself more than worthy of the third round selection. A danger to score whenever he gets the ball, Hilton will hopefully be part of this offense for years to come.
  • Signing Jerrell Freeman from the CFL: Since being picked up from the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL, Freeman has established himself as the best inside linebacker on the roster. A tackling machine, Freeman is Grigson's biggest find so far.

The Bad

  • The Jerry Hughes trade: I have some level of sympathy here. Hughes was given a chance under two regimes in Indy and never really impressed, at least not to the level he is in Buffalo. Grigson traded the 2010 first round pick for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, who has been a huge disappointment, with just nine snaps in the last three games. Hughes on the other hand has six sacks and a bunch of QB pressures. It's easy to see why Grigson traded him, it just doesn't look great right now.
  • Late round draft picks: I'm a fan of taking “damaged” players late on. In 2012 I wanted Alfonzo Dennard and Vontaze Burfict in the 7th round, and in 2013 the apple of my eye was Da'Rick Rogers, who is now a Colt after going undrafted. They all had talent, and with 6th/7th round picks, few make the roster anyway so I believe in taking a chance. Grigson's 6th/7th round picks so far have been LaVon Brazill (suspended for the first four games this season), Justin Anderson (IR again), Tim Fugger (cut before last season), Chandler Harnish (cut, then placed on practice squad), John Boyett (cut), Kerwynn Williams (cut) and Justice Cunningham (bouncing been active and practice rosters). It's not a huge deal, but maybe the Colts could do with more from their later picks.

The Ugly

  • Trent Richardson trade: I know, its early days but this has been an absolute disaster. Grigson gave up a first round pick for Richardson, who is averaging 2.8 yards per carry. That's not good enough, and the trade also meant A) They believed they needed to run to win, B) They thought running back was the biggest hole on the roster and C) that a first round pick for Richardson was too good to be true. So far, Grigson has been proven very wrong.
  • Failing to improve the interior OL: Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn are STILL starting for the Colts, despite horrendous 2012 seasons. Grigson signed Donald Thomas, who unfortunately ended up on IR, whilst mid-round picks Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes have struggled with either performance or injury based issues. I was gutted when Chargers OG Louis Vasquez went to Denver, because he was a perfect fit for our offense. With the Broncos, Vasquez has yet to give up a sack or even a hit. What could've been…
  • Overpaying free agents: I actually think Gosder Cherilus has had a good season. Laron Landry has played well when healthy and Ricky Jean Francois has been fairly solid. However, the contracts given to Greg Toler, Erik Walden and Darrius Heyward-Bey (admittedly only one year here) don't look great now. Toler is struggling with injuries and has been beaten regularly when he played, whilst Walden still isn't worth his 4 year, $16m contract despite a couple of decent displays.