With free agency winding down and we shift focus to the 2015 NFL Draft, there were quite a few surprises (and shockers) that few outside of their respective organizations saw coming. While the Colts made significant acquisitions that should surely help them be amongst the elite again this year, without question the Philadelphia Eagles are this year’s bread winners for making the boldest moves. Sending LeSean McCoy to the Bills for LB Kiko Alonzo was the blockbuster of the offseason and left NFL and talking heads alike scratching their heads along with all-world Saints TE Jimmy Graham going to the Seahawks being a close second. Both of these moves were done in order to become more balanced on both sides of the ball and in the case of the Eagles and Saints, these were moves both could afford given the fact that they are two of the league’s premier offensive juggernauts yet in contrast were also two of the worst defenses on the planet.
Towards the start of the free agent period there was big talk of top free agent prize Ndamukong Su possibly going to the Colts. At one point he was even dubbed a “shoe in” to be headed to Indy before things tailed off and reports came in with the team taking a “pass” on him due to question of whether he would fit “scheme wise.” I believe that Grigson and company did the right thing in taking a pass on the mercurial D-lineman because the cost of bringing him in would have limited their ability to address the rest of their needs via free agency. Su coming to the Colts had “Albert Haynesworth 2.0” written all over it. Su is not a 3-4 nose tackle and his skill set is best used in the type of 4-3 scheme he was used in during his career with the Lions. That said, another and more telling reason the front office didn’t go after the biggest fish available is due to the talent they already have in house. One such player is Aaron Morgan, dubbed by Grigson as his offseason sleeper. The intriguing thing about Morgan is that according to Grigson, he had only one practice with the team last year before being placed on IR/Future Reserve contract. That must have been one hell of a practice because the front office decided to keep him on the team.
“He had one practice. He came in on a December workout and impressed us so much we signed him on a (Reserve/Future) contract (on December 31, 2013),” said Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson at the NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona in March. “When he had that one practice and hurt his shoulder, he did enough in that one practice for us to say, ‘We’re hanging on to this guy.’”
Morgan is a guy to keep an eye as the season approaches. Along with former Bronco FA pickup Nate Irving he should be in the mix with a LB core that should be much improved over last year.
Three more players to look at are NT Josh Chapman, Kelcy Quarles and Montori Hughes. Grigson sent waves through the fan base when he said that he and coach Pagano like the young guys already on the team along the D-line.
“We have guys that are big, athletic guys that can run, but they’ve got to develop and they have to come through,” Grigson said of the young linemen. “I don’t think they have a choice. None of us have a choice. “They have to be (ready).” These guys better be, because there are already rumors of this possibly being Coach Pagano and Grigson’s last year with the team. I know it sounds ridiculous given the recent success of the franchise under the new regime, but Irsay is an ultra-competitive owner, and not a day goes by that he doesn’t want to out-do his previous success under the Manning era in his quest to win “multiple SBs.” I’m rooting for both Pagano and Grigson and think that if they are let go not reaching the SB this year it would be a major mistake by Irsay. Grigson is one of the best in the biz in scouting talent and has put together one of the better talent scout teams in the league to date. No matter what you say about the moves that brought in Trent Richardson and Laron Landry, those failures shouldn’t out-weigh the T.Y. Hiltons, Donte Montcriefs, Vontae Davis’s, Coby Fleeners and Dwayne Allens who were brought and have become cornerstones of the franchise.