Analyzing former General Manager Ryan Grigson’s first round picks and what could have been.
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2016: Ryan Kelly, center
Kelly was the obvious choice here for Grigson, as center was an obvious position of need and Kelly was considered one of the safest prospects in the draft. He was considered one of the better center prospects over the last decade. Kelly performed as expected and he will be snapping the ball to Luck for the next era barring any major injury. Kelly helped provide the Colts some much needed stability in the center position, and he can challenge Colts great Jeff Saturday for the position of the best Colts center in the future if he continues his development.
2015: Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver
Re-Draft: Landon Collins, safety
Dorsett was just traded for the Patriots third string quarterback Jacoby Brisset, while Landon Collins was named first team All-Pro and is becoming one of the best safeties in the game at a young age. Imagine a Colts defensive backfield led by Collins and rookie sensation Malik Hooker. The Colts would boast an elite safety pair with plenty of room for further development. The worst part about this pick is that Collins was expected by everyone to be picked by the Colts, that were shockingly thin at safety. Collins was viewed as a top prospect out of Alabama. Despite struggling in his rookie season, Collins will now blossom into one of the top safeties of the next era.
2014: Traded Pick for Trent Richardson
Re-Draft: Kelvin Benjamin, wide receiver
Joel Bitonio, offensive lineman
In arguably the worst move of Grigson’s era, he traded the Colts’ 2014 first round pick to the Browns for halfback Trent Richardson. Richardson never stood out as a Colt; he never made any meaningful impact either on or off the field. He failed to perform and caused trouble as he failed to show up for the 2014 AFC Championship Game. Instead, the Colts could have selected Benjamin, who would have been a very valuable possession threat to Luck, or Bitonio, who could have helped solidified the right side of the offensive line, probably protecting Luck from being tossed around so much, resulting in his injury.
2013: Bjoern Werner, defensive end
Re-Draft: LeVeon Bell, halfback
Xavier Rhodes, cornerback
Another year, another completely wasted pick by Grigson, Werner constantly failed to perform and more often than not he absolutely disappeared from games. On the other hand, Bell has become one of the game’s most electric halfbacks and one of the most impactful performer IF he is on the field (Big if, as he suffered several injuries, and was suspended for drug abuse). Rhodes was picked right after Werner and has become the shutdown corner the Colts defense so badly needs, with Vontae Davis’s injury and constant disappointment from this position group.
2012: Andrew Luck, quarterback
Luck was considered the best QB prospect since Manning, so it was only fitting he was selected to replace him. Luck has proved he is everything he was advertised to be and even more, leading a mediocre team to the playoffs in multiple occasions. As a result of extremely awful offensive line play, Luck was injured through most of the 2015 season, and will start the 2017 season after a major shoulder surgery.
Overall, Grigson botched 3 of 5 first rounders he had, and his one of his two hits was on a once in a generation type of player. The players the Colts missed on could have helped the team immensely. Perhaps Luck would already have a ring if it were not for Grigson’s mediocrity.