INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Colts believe they found the missing pieces in this year’s NFL draft.
Now, they’ll have to put it all together.
Less than 72 hours after confounding fans and pundits by taking a receiver in the first round, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson wrapped up draft weekend with a heavy tilt toward defense – a move team owner Jim Irsay hopes will help Indianapolis complete its Super Bowl puzzle.
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”We think we’re a lot better football team right now than we have been,” Irsay said before the Colts made their final pick.
Fans didn’t believe that when the Colts took Phillip Dorsett with the 29th overall pick Thursday, a move Irsay thinks will stress defenses.
Eventually, Grigson figured out a way to pacify fans and give coach Chuck Pagano the players he needed to make things tougher on opposing offenses.
The Colts started Saturday by taking Clayton Geathers of Central Florida, a big-hitting safety who is expected to compete for the starting job with recently signed veteran free agent Dwight Lowery.
They moved up in the fifth round to select 300-pound nose tackle David Parry from Stanford at No. 151, a player with a nasty streak that could help improve the Colts’ run defense. On Friday, they plucked Parry’s college teammate, defensive end Henry Anderson, late in the third round and chose brash cornerback D’Joun Smith with the first pick in Round 3 after making a deal with Tampa Bay.
The four straight defensive picks ended Grigson’s trend of leaning to the offense. He had used almost three-fourths of his picks over the past three years on offensive players.
This time, he didn’t have a choice. The Colts’ decision-makers knew the only way to compete for a championship was to get better on defense.
”There’s no question we are looking toward being more physical on defense and stopping the run,” Irsay said.
Indianapolis helped itself in a variety of ways.
Dorsett, who the Colts clocked at 4.25 seconds in the 40-yard dash, gives them more speed. And he’ll get to work full-time with fellow Miami alum Andre Johnson and fellow Miami native T.Y. Hilton in what could become one of the league’s most talented receiving contingents.
”My eyes light up when I see it,” Dorsett said Saturday. ”Seeing how much they throw the ball, how many yards he (Luck) throws for, I’ve never honestly been in a situation like this, ever, when it came to playing football. That’s why I’m so happy.”
But Colts fans were mystified by the selection until Grigson changed directions Friday before following the same script Saturday.
Indy started the fourth round by selecting the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Geathers, who comes from a long lineage of football players. Two uncles and three cousins have already played in the NFL and another cousin has bounced around the CFL and Arena Football League for the past six seasons. The youngest Geathers is the first of the seven not to play on the defensive line, and he’s hungry to prove he can make it, too.
”I always say they must not have been passing me the food,” Geathers joked a few minutes after being taken No. 109 overall. ”I’m the littlest one of the bunch.”
They wound up with the much larger Parry in the fifth round, Georgia linebacker Amarlo Herrera in the sixth and Mars Hill offensive lineman Denzelle Good in the seventh.
And the only time Grigson went offense over the final two days was when he took Mississippi State running back Josh Robinson late in the sixth round.
Will it be enough to reach a Super Bowl? The Colts certainly hope so.
”We would like to win at least two world championships (with Luck). We don’t shy away from that fact,” Irsay said. ”When you look at that, we look at how we build this roster over the next three years to where you can win two Super Bowls.”
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