Indianapolis Colts: Latest Combine News and Rumors
The NFL Scouting Combine is one of the most important predraft events, or at leas one of the more high-profile events, but it's more than just a time to see potential draft picks. The weekend is also one of the offseason's biggest gatherings of team executives and scouts, and Indianapolis is the source of all kinds of news and rumors throughout the event.
While the Colts are generally fairly tight-lipped, even under general manager Ryan Grigson, the franchise was not without its share of gossip over the weekend.
So, what had people talking about Indianapolis this weekend? Bleacher Report has all of your scoops from the 2014 combine.
Grigson Would Trade for T-Rich Again
Of everything that Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano mentioned at their press conferences in Indianapolis this weekend, their continued assurance that they would make the Trent Richardson trade again was what got the most attention from both fans and media.
Per Pro Football Talk:
“We got our first-round pick in September in Trent Richardson,” Grigson said at the Scouting Combine. “Overall feeling is he’s a tough, good, talented football player that has a broad skill set that’s still learning what we do. We’re optimistic about his future.”
Asked directly if he would make the same trade over again, Grigson answered, “Yes.”
Chuck Pagano would go on to make similar comments about the polarizing running back.
While some fans will be frustrated about the team continuing to insist that the trade, deemed a bust by many based on the initial return, was successful, the continued support is to be expected. The Colts can't get rid of Richardson with his guaranteed contract and will do what they can to support him and his success in Indianapolis.
It doesn't mean Ryan Grigson believes that the trade was actually worth it, or that he hasn't realized a potential mistake. All it means is that the Colts brass knows that he'll be a Colt for the foreseeable future.
Colts Meet with Logan Thomas
While teams meet with numerous prospects individually during the combine, the Colts' only reported individual meeting so far is Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas, per Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com.
Thomas had a strong weekend at the combine as one of the top physical specimens at the quarterback position. While the Colts are set at quarterback with their future tied to Andrew Luck, Thomas represents a potential developmental player, as well as someone they could convert to another position.
There are teams here that have asked Logan Thomas about moving to tight end. Running a 4.60 will increase those talks.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 23, 2014
The Colts had other talks at the Senior Bowl this year as well, including meeting with defensive ends Michael Sam and Dee Ford.
Grigson to Eye the Rest of the AFC South
While the Colts don't have a first-round pick in May, don't think Ryan Grigson won't be watching. Specifically, he'll be watching the other teams in the AFC South, he told reporters at the combine, per Hays Carlyon of The Florida Times Union:
I'd be lying to say I'm not intrigued. They're in my division and I want to know who's getting who so we can figure out how to approach those games and game plan, because they're going to get stellar players. It'll be interesting because in that top tier of this draft, there are some seriously talented players.
Not only will those picks impact how the Colts game-plan in the future, but it could have an effect on how the team attacks parts of the draft. If either of those two teams get DE Jadeveon Clowney, for example, it could nudge the Colts toward a few more offensive linemen. This is especially true for Houston, who already has J.J. Watt on the defensive line to terrorize Andrew Luck.
Rob Chudzinski Not a Threat to Pep Hamilton
When Rob Chudzinski was hired as a special assistant to head coach Chuck Pagano in early February, the natural question was to wonder what Chudzinski's role was going to be.
Chudzinski, a former offensive coordinator, was just removed from his position as a head coach in Cleveland, and to immediately come to Indianapolis to be an assistant seemed a bit odd. Couple that with Hamilton's inconsistent year in 2013, and you had interesting circumstances.
But after being asked about it at the combine, both Ryan Grigson and Pagano confirmed that Chudzinski was not brought in as insurance for Hamilton or anything like that.
Per ESPN's Mike Wells:
First and foremost, I'll say Chud is a resource. His role will continue to evolve. He's a great football mind to bounce things off of. He's going to do evaluations. He's going to help in all three phases; special teams, defense, offense, player evaluation, game day, all those types of things to help our head coach and help our team and help us get better. I think it's a great pickup.
Don't Expect High-Priced Free Agents in Indianapolis
We've discussed free agency quite a bit already here on Bleacher Report, including looking at the Colts' large amount of cap space and finding potential free-agent fits that Indianapolis could use it to sign. But while fans have been excited to find potential big names the Colts could go after, Ryan Grigson's tune this past weekend has made it seem like he's more likely to "play it safe" than pay big money to external free agents.
According to the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder, Grigson referred to the 2015 and 2016 offseasons as reasons why the team could hold back on spending in 2014:
It's not hard to tighten your belt when you're looking at what we're looking at in '15 and '16. In future years, we have some key, key young talent – not to even give you names; you know who they are – that we're going to have to re-sign. So, we have to be very prudent and fiscally sound in how we move forward. We still have a plan in place and if there's a chance for us to get better at any position, we're going to try to get better, if it makes sense from a fiscal standpoint for the club.
Grigson would also cite faith in the development of 2013 free agents LaRon Landry, Ricky Jean-Francois and Greg Toler as reasons why the Colts wouldn't need to add big names in free agency this season. While the team will still spend the money they have, expect shorter contracts and depth signings more than big names and long-term deals.
The Colts desperately need some blue-chip talent, but it looks like they won't be adding it in free agency. As such, the team desperately needs those 2013 free agents to make strides in 2014, as well as the 2013 and 2014 draft choices.