The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports

February 24, 2014

Draft's depth could play in Colts' favor

INDIANAPOLIS — During his appearance at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson hinted the team will be more conservative in free agency this offseason.

The Colts are expected to have between $33 million and $39 million to spend, depending on where the final 2014 salary cap number falls. But new deals on the near horizon for Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and other young stars dictate a fiscally responsible approach.

Indianapolis faces even more restrictive limitations in the draft.

The franchise's first-round pick was traded to Cleveland in September for running back Trent Richardson, and the team currently has just four selections to use in May. That's going to require Grigson to dig into his scouting background and unearth a few hidden gems.

"We're happy with the amount of depth (in this draft class)," Grigson said. "Our draft meetings concluded last week, and our board is pretty heavy with talent. We feel like with all the quality juniors that came out, that if there's a year to not have a one, we're happy that this is the year because there are some quality football players that will be there for us at two and the rounds after."

Players like Tulane wide receiver Ryan Grant.

A fifth-year senior, Grant lost all but the opening game of the 2011 season to a sports hernia injury. Former New Orleans Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson took over as the Green Wave's head coach the next year, and Grant flourished.

He caught 153 passes for 2,188 yards and 15 touchdowns in his final two seasons. But there are questions about his speed, leading to concerns about his ability to thrive on the outside in the NFL.

Grant did little to allay those fears with a 4.64-second time in the 40-yard dash Sunday, but his hands are said to be among the best in this year's draft class. And he has solid role models.

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