2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Colts turn focus to defense on final day of draft

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2012-04-28 19:51

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indianapolis Colts got the cornerstone they needed for their massive rebuilding project. Then they decided to do something more than merely rely on Luck.

Indianapolis selected two tight ends and a receiver on Friday and didn't stop Saturday. In all, the Colts used eight of their 10 picks over the three-day draft weekend to give Luck a stronger supporting cast on offense.

It wasn't all by choice.

``I think there were three different defensive guys that went off slightly before we picked,'' team owner Jim Irsay said just before the draft ended. ``We thought there were two corners who could really help us and one that we could have possibly traded up to get, but it happens. We're really thrilled with the guys we got.''

Certainly, new coach Chuck Pagano and new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky wanted more people to help make the transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 alignment.

But they couldn't quibble with the overall results.

Indy opted for the surest player in the draft by taking Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick Thursday night. The Stanford quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up is considered the most polished college quarterback to enter the NFL since the Colts selected Peyton Manning with the No. 1 pick in 1998.

The addition of Luck kept the momentum going through the next two days.

A disastrous 2-14 season led to a major offseason overhaul that culminated in a new front office, a new coaching staff, new systems and even a purge of many high-priced veteran players, including Manning.

The changes left the Colts with little choice. They had to find an injection of young talent to help Luck.

``I feel great about our picks. I feel like we were disciplined to our board, took the best guys on our board and built this thing the right way,.'' new general manager Ryan Grigson said.

Indy hauled in the two top-ranked two tight ends, two receivers that can also return kicks, a bullish running back, the biggest offensive tackle the Colts have had in years and a potential backup for Luck.

The toughest job, though, still belongs to the No. 1 pick, who must replace the only four-time MVP in league history, the face of the franchise and a personality that transcended Indianapolis sports.

``I think big shoes may be an understatement,'' Luck said Friday before his introduction to the fans. ``What he did is, obviously, legendary for this city and for the state. I know that if I woke up every morning trying to compare myself to Peyton, I think I would go crazy. It's impossible.''

Comparisons will be made.

So to help with the transition, the Colts spent the rest of the weekend trying to shore up the offense.

They took Luck's college teammate, tight end Coby Fleener, in the second round and another tight end, Clemson's Dwayne Allen, in the third. Indy then traded back into the third round to get speedy receiver T.Y. Hilton from Florida International.

``I'm going to change the game from kick return to punt return and also as a receiver,'' Hilton said with confidence. ``I think I can run 60, 70, and 80-yard touchdowns, so me and Luck are going to do just fine.''

The game plan didn't change Saturday.

After taking 316-pound defensive tackle Josh Chapman with the day's first pick, at the top of the fifth round, the Colts went back to offense.

They spent their second fifth-round draft pick on Vick Ballard, a 1,000-yard rusher from Mississippi State whose last trip to Indy included a stumble that sent him tumbling into a camera while he ran the 40-yard dash at the league's annual scouting combine.

``That didn't even cross my mind,'' Ballard said with a chuckle. ``I'm just happy to be a part of somebody's team.''

Indy then took Ohio University receiver LaVon Brazill in the sixth round and 342-pound offensive lineman Justin Anderson from Georgia in the seventh.

The defense wound up with only two additions: Chapman, the fifth-round pick from national champion Alabama, and 250-pound defensive end Tim Fugger, a seventh-round choice from Vanderbilt. That wasn't exactly what Manusky and Pagano had hoped for when the draft began. Heck, they didn't even get a cornerback to improve one of the worst pass defenses in league history.

``We had a guy that we coveted and we felt really, really good about and he fell off the board, right before we picked,'' Pagano said when asked about the lack of a cornerback. ``That's how the draft is. So you have to be armed and ready and Ryan and the rest of guys were ready to go. He wasn't the only guy. But that's the way drafts go.''

Pagano joked that Manusky lost 12 pounds over the weekend by jumping on exercise equipment each time they took another offensive player.

But the guys they did get could help, especially if the tough-minded Chapman is healthy. He helped anchor one of the nation's best defenses last season despite tearing the ACL in his left knee Oct. 1. Chapman put off surgery until eight days after the BCS national championship game, a move that took a toll on his draft stock..

``I was told that I could have surgery or keep on playing the season,'' Chapman said. ``I knew I had ability with my left knee and I wanted to win a championship. I had to do what I had to do.''

Chapman said the doctors have told him he should be ready for the start of training camp. If he is, it could give the Colts a third-day steal.

Otherwise, Luck and the Colts' offense were the big winners.

``To get the two tight ends, I think is really special and the way (offensive coordinator) Bruce Arians runs this offense, I think the tight ends are really important,'' Irsay said. ``You don't want to get impatient and feel like you have to fix every need right now and wind up making a mistake.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group