2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Colts finish draft weekend with unusual class

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-27 20:04

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Ryan Grigson may never have another draft class quite like this one.

After scouring the nation's best college football players, the Colts general manager used his first three picks on a German-born pass rusher, an interior lineman who played college football in the Midwest and started high school in Idaho and a center whose father has spent nearly four decades working for the Saudi royal family.

Soon, Indianapolis will find out if they're as big a hit on the field, too.

``In terms of their off the field and overall stories, they are all very unique human beings and some of their stories are amazing what they've overcome,'' Grigson said after making the last pick of the weekend -- 264-pound tight end Justice Cunningham. ``The first two guys off the board were just amazing. The other ones, whether it's injury stuff or lack of size, these guys have all been resilient and that's what these guys are really all about and that's what we're all about.''

It was no secret that this year's draft was uniquely strong along the offensive and defensive lines.

So Grigson, a former offensive lineman, played to the strengths.

He chose college defensive end Bjoern Werner with Indy's first-round pick, No. 24 overall, with visions of turning him into an outside linebacker.

Then Grigson plugged more holes along an offensive line that allowed 41 sacks and dozens more hits on franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. Even though the Colts signed two potential starters in free agency, right tackle Gosder Cherilus and guard Donald Thomas, Grigson took Hugh Thornton in the third round and center Khaled Holmes in the fourth.

It should make for an interesting collection in the locker room.

Luck and Werner can trade stories about growing up in Germany when both were watching NFL Europe.

Luck was in Europe because his father, Oliver, was the general manager of the Rhein Fire. Werner grew up in his native country looking for a way into the NFL.

``The last six years I was believing that I could make it, but, of course, I just say it like that,'' Werner said. ``Two years ago, before my sophomore year when I was named a starter for the Florida State Seminoles, I knew `Wow you could not only like make it, you can get drafted pretty high.' It's just really, really amazing to see my biography just for myself.''

Indy expects Werner to solidify a pass rush that struggled with the switch to 3-4 last season and is now without Dwight Freeney, the Colts' career sacks leader.

On paper, he looks a lot like an international version of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. Suggs is 6-foot-3, 260 pounds and scared some teams off when he ran a 4.84-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in 2003. Werner is 6-3, 266 and also raised red flags by running a 4.83 at the combine in February. Both wound up getting taken in the first round by teams that projected them as NFL linebackers after playing almost exclusively at defensive end in college.

The Colts' other big need was protecting Luck.

So they took Thornton, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard, who grew up in Idaho, endured his parents' divorce and then moved to Ohio after his mother and sister were murdered in Jamaica as he slept in a nearby room. After all that, Thornton is staying close to his roots.

``I've got a lot of family from Ohio so I'll have a lot of my support system at games,'' Thornton said. ``I'm an overcomer. I've overcome a lot of adversity and I'm going to give nothing but the best to the organization.''

Holmes, Indy's fourth-round pick at No. 121 overall, might have the strangest story.

The 6-foot 3, 302-pound center grew up listening to his mother reading classics from Homer and Plato instead of the usual childhood favorites. He played the cello and basketball when he was deemed too big to play Pop Warner football, and his family has a distinguished football legacy.

Holmes' father was a defensive lineman at Michigan under Bo Schembechler and turned down a chance to play in the NFL so he could become a business manager for the Saudi royal family. Holmes' brother, Alex, played two years in the NFL after winning back-to-back national championships at Southern California in 2003 and 2004, and his sister just happens to be married to Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

Now, the newest Southern Cal grad is developing a mobile app as part of his master's program, and for the first time since his freshman season in high school, he won't be snapping balls to Matt Barkley.

``I'm excited to do that,'' Holmes said when asked about lining up in front of Luck. ``He's such a great player. He proved himself in the NFL last year. We had some battles with him in college. I'm excited to be on his team.''

But the Colts didn't stop there.

Grigson traded a fourth-round pick in 2014 to move back into the fifth round to take the 329-pound Montori Hughes, who was booted off Tennessee's team following multiple off-the-field incidents, and resurrected his career at Tennessee-Martin. He adds another big body on a defensive end that has undergone a major makeover this offseason. Coach Chuck Pagano compared him to Ravens Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata.

The Colts closed out the draft by taking safety John Boyett of Oregon, who played in just one game last season because of injuries to both knees; 5-foot-7 running back Kerwynn Williams, who led Utah State to a bowl game last season; and Cunningham, who initially was called the wrong name during the Mr. Irrelevant ceremony.

So when the three-day rookie mini-camp convenes May 10, this draft class will have plenty to discuss. The only question is how everyone will perform.

``We've got tough, hard-nosed guys that are physical,'' Pagano said. ``This is a dynamic class, and I feel good about these guys.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

A.J. McCarronMay 25 10:37p

Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron (shoulder) is healthy and hoping to push QB Andy Dalton in 2015. 'We wanted him in our building so bad and it happened and [ More ]

Ray McDonaldMay 25 04:42p

Updating previous reports, Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald has been released Monday, May 25, just hours after being arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment.

Adrian PetersonMay 25 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson still wants to be traded, according to a source. Peterson intends to skip all organized team activities, which would cause him to lose $250,000 in workout bonuses.

Adrian PetersonMay 24 09:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he will not attend the optional practices that begin Tuesday, May 26, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Tom BradyMay 22 04:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by commissioner Roger Goodell after the NFL rejected a motion by the NFL Players [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 22 03:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension has not been scheduled at this time.

Ray RiceMay 22 11:42a

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) could be a consideration for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, speculates The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. He cites Cowboys owner and general [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 22 09:52a

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains in pursuit of being traded or receiving a new contract and remains away from the organization during voluntary workouts. [ More ]

William BeattyMay 21 12:02p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty (chest) underwent successful surgery Thursday, May 21, to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Beatty will need approximately five to six months of recovery time.

Derek CarrMay 20 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) will not need surgery on his injured finger and may be able to throw again before the end of offseason workouts, according to his agent.

Joseph RandleMay 20 09:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is the most likely option to lead the team's running back by committee approach in 2015. Randle has the most experience in the system, [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:53p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty's (pectoral) torn pectoral will require surgery and Beatty's recovery time is expected to be around five months. Beatty suffered the [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) tore his pectoral while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source, and will undergo surgery. One [ More ]

Josh HillMay 20 03:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is slated as the starting tight end this season with TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. TE Benjamin Watson could give Hill a run for his money, however.

William BeattyMay 20 03:13p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source. Surgery is a possibility.

Geno SmithMay 20 03:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith is the starting quarterback and will not see competition in training camp, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Tom BradyMay 20 03:03p

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal will not be affected by the team's decision to accept their sanctions. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to [ More ]

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group