Feb 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ryan Grigson the general manager of the Indianapoils Colts talks about the status of Peyton Manning (not pictured) at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Colts offseason grades.


With free agency and the draft done and dusted, we’re now in the midst of mini-camps and OTA’s season, and we can now begin to dissect the Colts offseason and grade its successes and its failures. Have Grigson and co. done a good job so far?

Prior to Free Agency
The Colts cut many key past players, and began to shape the roster for the future. The cap takes a big hit in dead money the next year or too, but down the line this should help the Colts, nothing was more important than getting out of some BAD contracts, most notably with Melvin Bullitt and Gary Brackett.
Successes:
+ Cutting players who were either injury-prone, past their best years or tied to bad contracts.
+ The trade for Winston Justice. Now although this was not an outstanding roster move, I liked it. I feel it gives the Colts a very adequate starting right tackle to protect Andrew Luck and in my personal opinion, he is better than Jeff Linkenbach and the retired Ryan Diem.
Failures:
-
I feel although I was in favour of the decision to allow Peyton Manning to leave, you can’t underestimate what the franchise lost in a player like Peyton Manning. He is a once in a lifetime player, and the model professional. Heck I can’t not mention this one can I.

Grade -  B+  The bold moves to release a number of veterans, in my opinion were the right decision. Releasing Manning had to happen, the franchise is in good hands with Andrew Luck.

Dec 22, 2011; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne (87) catches the winning touchdown over Houston Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson (25) in the forth quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeated Houston 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Free Agency
Successes:
+ Signed new players who will all help the defense transition to a 3-4 i.e. Redding, Zbikowski and Mckinney.
+ Didn’t overpay to keep veteran players, most particularly Pierre Garcon. This has been the case in the past.
+ Resigned Reggie Wayne. This move could be the best the Colts made all offseason. Wayne gives Luck the true number one receiver all quarterbacks desire.
+ Resigned Robert Mathis. Mathis is one of the Colts best defensive players, keeping him can only help the roster.

Failures:
-
Failed to sign any real difference makers, although with the Colts cap situation what it is, this is no real surprise and by no means a considerable failure.

Grade – B   The Colts resigned two veterans who will  continue to be some of the teams best players, and brought in low cost players who help the team.

The Draft
Successes:
+ Bringing in a new franchise quarterback, in Andrew Luck. I’m very glad the Colts chose Luck over Griffin. I believe Luck possesses all the intangibles needed to succeed in the NFL and in my opinion is the whole package. The more I studied Griffin, the more I felt he had the potential to bust. Whether or not the selection of Luck was ever really in doubt, the Colts made the right decision.
+ Providing Luck with weapons. Grigson did well in bringing in the two best tight-ends in the draft, along with an explosive slot receiver, with home run ability, and a powerful running back, who could provide Luck with a running game, of which the Colts have lacked for the best part of three years.
+ In nose tackle Josh Chapman, the Colts in my opinion got a great value pick. If Chapman hadn’t busted his ACL his senior year, his draft stock would have placed him far higher than the fifth round. He is a great talent and could potentially push Mckinney for a starting job.

Failures:
-
The Colts failed to address many defensive needs, especially at cornerback. One player in my opinion who slipped through was Alfonzo Dennard out of Nebraska. He was available in the later rounds yet the Colts decided against taking him and the Patriots snapped him up. He fell in the draft due to an altercation with the police, yet I feel taking a shot on him would have been beneficial, as he figures to have good potential.
- Another glaring need was at outside linebacker. The Colts could have benefitted from bringing in a player who fits the new 3-4 scheme, but failed to.

Grade – A   The Colts have begun by building around Luck. Grigson chose whom he believed was the best player avaliable at each pick, and didn’t fall into the trap of drafting by need, and taking a player not worthy of that pick, apart from Chandler Harnish possibly, yet he was Mr Irrelevant anyway, so who cares.

I love what Grigson has done in his first offseason at the helm of the Colts. He has made smart moves, and some ballsy ones too, it seems their is a real sense of direction for the organization right now, and that only installs me with confidence for the coming years.

Overall – A

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Tags: Andrew Luck Brandon McKinney Cory Redding Indianapolis Colts Reggie-wayne Robert Mathis Ryan Grigson Tom Zbikowski