What to Expect: 2013 Draft Revisited

Every year after the draft, I write one of my favorite series.

What to Expect sets historical baselines for each player selected and allows us to evaluate rookie seasons against what similarly drafted players in the past have done.

Now that 2013 is in the books, it's time to go back and see how Ryan Grigson's second draft with the Colts panned out.

Bjoern Werner

Then:  "Werner should see action in all 16 games, and he should end up starting at least half the time. We know he'll be in a rotation with Eric Walden, but if he can't take the bulk of the snaps away from him, it will be disappointing. Werner's pass/fail line should be 4.0 sacks and 30 tackles.

If he can produce at that level, he'll be in the top-10 in terms of productive pass rushers taken in the back-half of the first round since 2000."

Now: Werner played in 13 games, earning one start (when Walden was suspended). He picked up 2.5 sacks, 13 tackles and three passes defended.

Verdict: Missed Expectations.

It's fair to call Werner's rookie year a mild disappointment. Even with the relatively low benchmark, Werner failed to earn playing time as anything more than a situational pass rusher. He lacked strength to drive blockers into the quarterback and was routinely handled one one one on the outside.


Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes

Then:  "There is some hope that they'll contribute, however. They'll see the field plenty, and will likely even win some starts.

A fair baseline for these picks is 14 games played and seven starts. Those numbers would place them in the upper third of guards and centers drafted in this range.

Given the fact that they are actually competing against each other as well, it would be impressive if they both hit that target."

Now: Thornton managed to crack the starting lineup 12 times and appeared in 14 games on the nose. Holmes appeared in just three games, making his debut against Houston in Week 15.

Verdict: Thornton met expectations. Holmes missed expectations.

It was probably never realistic that both of these players would end up becoming factors. Thornton did not play particuarly well, but for a mid-round rookie, you take what you can get.

Holmes struggled with health and to find a way onto the field. He managed only 13 snaps on the season. Given the Colts' struggles in the middle of the line, the fact that Holmes was a complete zero can't be seen as a positive. 


Montori Hughes

Then: Eight games played, one start, one sack and 10 tackles would put Hughes in the top 10 for tackles drafted in the fifth round.

Now:  Hughes played in four games with no starts. He picked up four tackles one quarterback hurry and no sacks on the season. He was eventually placed on IR with a knee injury.

Verdict: Missed Expectations

The Colts dealt a 2014 fourth-round pick for the rights to Hughes. That aside, he did not have much impact and didn't live up to the rather soft standard set for him.


John Boyett

Then:  A fair expectation for a healthy Boyett is for him to make the club as a backup and play heavily on special teams. Look for 16 games played, two starts if there are injuries and 10 tackles. That would place him will into the top-half of rookies at his position and draft range.

Now: Boyett was waived by the team before the season after an arrest for public intoxication. He spent the season on the  Broncos practice squad.

Verdict: Missed expectations.


Kerwynn Williams and Justice Cunningham

Then:  "For Williams, a fair expectation would be for him to play in five or six games, pick up a carry or two for 10 yards and contribute on special teams. That would place him in the top half of seventh-round running backs. Long term, it wouldn't be impossible for him to become a viable contributor. It is something that happens from time to time, though obviously, the odds are against him.

Cunningham shouldn't be expected to catch the ball much, and if he makes the roster or practice squad it's a plus for the Colts.

Again, five or six games played with a catch or two would be reasonable result for the last player taken in the draft."

Now: Cunningham played 14 games for the Colts. He had one catch for four yards. Williams was cut out of camp, but did make the practice squad. He played in one game on special teams and finished the year on the Chargers' practice squad.

Verdict: Cunningham exceeded expectations, Williams missed them.

Cunningham saw playing time, and for the last pick in the draft, that's all you can ask. Williams failed to make the roster and was essentially a wasted pick.


Final Tally

The Colts drafted seven players. Two of them exceeded expectations and five of them failed to. In all, the Colts got 49 total games and 13 total starts out of the 2013 draft.

The most successful pick was Hugh Thornton. The least successful was John Boyett. None of the players selected showed any signs of developing into a star player, though there is hope for solid future contributions from some.

It would be difficult to characterize this draft as anything but a mild failure at best, though there is still time for long-term improvement.