By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
Asked whether he’s ever seen a draft class quite like the one he’d just put the finishing touches on Saturday night, Indianapolis Colts general manger Ryan Grigson shook his head slowly and chose his words carefully.
“They’re all very, very unique human beings,” Grigson said. “Their stories, some of them are amazing in what they’ve overcome.”
The Colts made five selections on the third and final day of the 2013 NFL draft to bring the total for the class to seven. Among the final day selections were an offensive lineman with ties to the Saudi royal family, a safety who played through a pair of knee injuries for his entire junior season and a defensive lineman who overcame several off-field incidents at one school and rehabilitated his name and his game in a lower division.
They join German-born outside linebacker Bjoern Werner from Florida State and versatile offensive lineman Hugh Thornton of Illinois in a class that promises to bring some of the smashmouth flavor head coach Chuck Pagano loves onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium this fall.
“It all starts up front,” Pagano said. “If you are good and solid on both sides of the line of scrimmage, it makes everybody else’s job that much easier. You’re going to hear me until they drag me out of here talk about running the ball and stopping the run.”
That was the clear focus Saturday, all the way through the selection of Mr. Irrelevant with the final pick of the draft.
Indianapolis opened the day by choosing Southern Cal center Khaled Holmes — whose father, Michael, serves as a “business manager” for the royal family in Saudi Arabia — in the fourth round. They followed by sending a 2014 fourth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns to move into the fifth round and take Tennessee-Martin defensive tackle Montori Hughes — who began his career at Tennessee before catching pro scouts’ eyes with the Skyhawks and at the Senior Bowl.
In the sixth round, the Colts added Oregon safety John Boyett — a hard-hitting run stuffer who played his junior year with two partially torn patellar tendons and still is rehabbing after playing in just one game as a senior.
The day ended with the selections of Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams — who figures to make his most immediate impact on special teams — and South Carolina tight end Justice Cunningham — a power-blocking specialist with surprising pass-catching traits.
“We feel good,” Grigson said, summing up his day’s work. “When you stay disciplined, you usually end up feeling pretty good because you stayed true to your board.”