The buzz surrounding the Colts is – for the first time in a very long time (circa 1998, perhaps?) – all about the rookies. After suffering through a difficult 2-14 season, missing the playoffs for the first time in 9 years, and losing Peyton Manning to free agency, #ColtsNation is hoping their fate is finally trending upward. The drafting of former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, along with nine other impressive college players, has the Horseshoe faithful seeing stars, and the new additions are already making good impressions on and off the field.
Here’s what went down for the newbies this week in #ColtsNation.
The Colts have wasted no time in signing their rookies to contracts. In the past week, the Colts signed half of their draft class – those from the second half of the draft. This includes:
- Vick Ballard – RB, Mississippi State – 5th round (170th overall)
- LaVon Brazill – WR, Ohio University – 6th round (206th overall)
- Justin Anderson – OG, University of Georgie – 7th round (208th overall)
- Tim Fugger – LB, Vanderbilt – 7th round (214th overall)
- Chandler Harnish – QB, Northern Illinois (253rd overall)
The top half of the draftees, including Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton, and Josh Chapmen, have yet to sign contracts, but it is only a matter of time. All 10 draftees participated in the Colts’ rookie minicamp earlier this month.
Additionally, the Colts signed two free agents this week. Added to the 90-man roster were QB David Legree and G Zane Taylor. Legree signed as an undrafted free agent out of Hampton University. He threw for 1,636 yards, including 10 touchdown passes, last season, and he had a 62% completion percentage in seven games. Taylor, on the other hand, was claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles. He was originally scouted by Colts GM Ryan Grigson, who was a former director of college scouting for the Birds. The additions of Legree and Taylor come a cost, however. To make room on the squad, TE Brody Eldridge and G Matt Murphy were both waived.
The Colts began their first set of Organized Team Activities this week, meaning the rookies got to meet and work with the more grizzled and experienced veterans for the first time. Although Andrew Luck was visibly absent – he’s not allowed to participate in OTAs until he completes his undergraduate degree early next month – the workouts and practices were reported to have gone very well. The staff was very encouraged by the fact that almost all 90 roster members were present, including all nine of their 7-years-or-greater veterans, for the optional practices. Coach Pagano saw “progress in the offense’s execution” and communication, and he said the team had “great energy [and] enthusiasm.” Sounds promising to me!
The 2012 NFLPA Rookie Premiere kicked off yesterday in Los Angeles. The 3-day event invites 36 rookies to get their first taste of the lifestyle that comes with being a professional athlete. With four representatives – Luck, Fleener, Allen, and Hilton – there are more Colts in attendance than players from any other team. The men will participate in photo shoots, receive their own trading cards, do some community service work, and play in a celebrity flag football game. They will also attend some informative lectures (Who could forget Herm Edward’s famous “Don’t Press Send” speech from last year?) and participate in red carpet media interviews.
Luck and Fleener also temporarily took over the NFLPA’s Twitter account to answer questions from the fans. These were just some of the responses generated by the two budding stars, but I thought they were some of the most enlightening. They shed light on Luck and Fleener’s closeness – they’ve already been teammates for 4 years and have established quite a partnership – as well as Luck’s first-year goals. Is shooting for a Super Bowl a little ambitious for a rookie quarterback? Maybe, but I like it.
That’s it for #HorseBytes this week! Make sure to check back next Friday for the latest #ColtsNation news, fresh from the Twitterverse.