As we approach the 2014 NFL Draft, the entire league is on pins and needles. Every team in the NFL is waiting to see what their future will be, and how bright it might become. The Indianapolis Colts will have to wait until round two of the draft on Friday before they can make a selection, so the excitement may be lessened a bit. Still, the Colts have a decent history of making some good choices in late rounds.
For every top overall draft pick, ( QB – Peyton Manning QB - Andrew Luck) there are multitudes of franchise-building performers that are found in later rounds of the draft. Some of the best players in the history of Indianapolis have come from round number two or later. Listed below, are a few of the gems that the Colts have found in late rounds of the NFL draft.
1.) OT – Ryan Diem (2001) – Diem was selected by the Colts with the 118th overall pick in the fourth round. Diem played his entire career with the Colts, taking part in 158 games, over ten years.
2.) DE/OLB – Robert Mathis (2003) - Arguably the best defensive player in Colts’ history, Mathis was sitting on the shelf, until round five of the 2003 draft. Mathis was selected by the Colts with the 138th overall pick, and has played his entire hall of fame career with the Colts. In 2013, Mathis had the best year of his career, with 19.5 sacks.
3.) S – Antoine Bethea (2006) – Bethea was the 207th overall pick, but quickly became a staple of the Indianapolis defense. The San Fransisco 49ers snagged Bethea away from the Colts this offseason, and his loss will no doubt affect this team. In eight years with the Colts, Bethea was a leader in the locker room, and a stable spot on the field.
4.) WR - T.Y. Hilton (2012) – The 2012 NFL draft was headlined by the Colts picking up QB – Andrew Luck, but the rest of that draft has also paid off. The 2012 Indianapolis draft class included Luck, TE – Coby Fleener, TE – Dwayne Allen, and RB – Vick Ballard. Still, the most prolific prospect from that draft may have been WR – T.Y. Hilton. Hilton (92nd overall) was taken in round three, and has quickly become the most dynamic weapon for Luck on offense. Hilton is a multifaceted performer, and could be a staple in the Indianapolis offense for years to come.
The Colts may not make much news in round one of the 2014 NFL draft, but this franchise might still have a few tricks up their sleeves.