INDIANAPOLIS — Ryan Grigson made his name in the NFL as a scout.
And he's held tight to those roots by digging deep to sign players like Jerrell Freeman from the Canadian Football League, Josh McNary from the U.S. Army and Daniel Adongo from international rugby. All three could be on the Indianapolis Colts' 53-man roster in 2014, Grigson's third season as the franchise's general manager.
"It's what drives us," Grigson said of such signings. "It's what's exciting. I really hope I never lose any of that zeal for finding those diamonds because that's what drove me on the road as a scout."
It'll need to continue driving Grigson and his personnel staff Thursday as they open the 2014 NFL draft without a first-round pick and with just five selections overall.
The good news for Indianapolis is that many experts agree this is one of the deepest drafts in years. But that only increases the pressure to maximize the team's limited opportunities.
Grigson is keeping all of his options open — including the possibility of trading up into the first round — but its likely the team won't take a player off the board until the 59th overall pick rolls around on Friday.
"It's different because there's going to be, I wouldn't say weaker, but a lesser grouping of top talent available at that spot," Grigson said. "But you're still going to hope that one of those guys that you have in that upper group falls to you. Then you work accordingly."
There's a good deal of mystery surrounding the draft, with even the Houston Texans' plans at No. 1 overall still unclear. Several reports have suggested the Texans and St. Louis Rams — who own the second pick — would prefer to trade down if they can find willing partners.