Being a new GM coming into Indianapolis there would be a significant evaluation time.
First and formost I would have a sit down and evaluate each and every coach. In order for the team to grow and succed you need to lay out your plan for the future and make sure each coach is on board. If you find a coach that isnt qualified to help take the team in the direction you feel it is best to go, one of two things happen. I would have a meeting and lay all the cards on the table explaining what you would like to accomplish and try to get the coach on board. If that does not work, the coach would need to be replaced by someone on the same page as the GM.
Second would be player evaluations. Be it contracts, health, and needs for the team to be competitive.
Manning would be first on my list. In order to have an offensive leader, you must look heavily at Manning. A proven vet and team leader. Knowing what Manning can do on the field, the biggest obstical is his health. How does he look in practice and how do the doctors feel about his health. This will be a major deciding factor in who you draft and what positions in each round.
Two outcomes will happen here. Either A. Manning is back to old form and is at 100% recovery or B. He is at 95% or cannot get back to old form. With each out come you msut decide what to do. A healthy Manning, if I were GM, would be our starting QB and draft a more raw prospect to learn under Manning loweer in the draft. If Manning cannot return and retires, I would draft Andrew Luck to replace Manning.
Third, look at the vets with contracts ending. IE: Wayne, Mathis, Saturday. What do these player want in the way of a contract and money. I would let Wayne go. Mathis would be resigned. Saturday if he chooses to return would be resigned to a two year deal.
Fourth... THE DRAFT!
Alot will depend on Mannings health on how I would select in the draft. A healthy Manning will stay in Indy. But a QB would not be my first draft pick.
My first darft pick would be a SS or CB. The defense has been on a downward spiral for years. The weakness lies in the secondary. Seal off WR and the guys such as Mathis/Freeney get pressure. That didnt happen on 2011.
Second darft pick would be a back up QB to Manning. RG3?? Not sure yet. Would need to interview each potential canidate.
Third draft pick would be an Offensive lineman.
Fourth draft pick, special teams type player/WR
Fifth, depending on who is left, ect..
This would be my starting point. Many things in the plan may change due to money, contracts, health, ect. Its a good starting point.
With response to colt_fan:
Alot is depending on Mannings health IMO. How many years do we think he can have playing at true Manning form. He could have another 5 solid years at quarter back. If that is the case, i dont think a person like Luck will sit that long. Now on the flip, drafting Luck could be smart incase Manning finds he cannot play up to par for years and only has 2 or less years of play left. In that case, you take Luck. I think he can sit for at the most 2 years.
When the final evaluation comes for Manning and he is looking great.. solid passes short, medium, and long, putting the ball right where it needs to go, putting a real rip on the ball.. I feel taking a solid qb in the second round is the best option. One that can sit behind Manning and learn to be his replacement or to come in if he gets hurt.
The Colts secondary this last year has proven weak. Taking a good CB or SS early will have an immediate positive.
The colts also need to look at the FA more. Polian never seemed to look for filler or talent there. This need to be explored.