Indianapolis Colts

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on April 27, 2013 – 7:38 pm

For the second straight year the Colts had the final pick of the NFL Draft.

This year’s “Mr. Irrelevant” will be South Carolina’s tight end Justice Cunningham.

How does this pick impact the Colts?

Justice Cunningham will join Chandler Harnish as the newest Mr. Irrelevant for the Colts.

Known as a blocking tight end at 6’4″ and 264 pounds, Cunningham will join a young tight ends room.

The Colts currently have second-year tight ends Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener and Dominique Jones to go along with Weslye Saunders.

Cunningham, who was invited to this year’s NFL Combine, will have some familiarity in the draft room with Saunders also hailing from South Carolina.

While Cunningham is known for his blocking, he did catch 40 passes for 831 yards over the last two seasons.

Last season, the Colts carried Allen, Fleener and Saunders for a majority of the season on the active roster with a trio of tight ends making up the practice squad at different times throughout the year.

Cunningham and Jones will likely be in a fight for that fourth tight end spot.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 6:44 pm

The seventh round was the only round in the 2013 NFL Draft in which the Colts had two picks.

With the No. 230 overall selection, Indianapolis selected its first skill position of the draft with running back Kerwynn Williams from Utah State.

How does this pick impact the Colts?

The first skill position player for the Colts comes at selection No. 230 with running back Kerwynn Williams.

At 5’7″ and 196 pounds, Williams was a dual-threat back for the Aggies and earned All-America honors last season.

Williams rushed for 1,512 yards and had another 45 catches for 697 yards in 2012.

The senior season for Williams was his first as a full-time starter and he finished his career with a 6.6 rushing average.

Pro Football Weekly says that Williams “runs with intent, comes downhill hard and maintains balance through arm tackles.”

Before becoming a full-time starter, Williams was the Aggies kick returner for three seasons and twice he surpassed 1,000 yards in kick return yardage.

The running back position for the Colts returns starters Vick Ballard and Donald Brown to the backfield, along with short yardage specialist Delone Carter.

Pep Hamilton’s offense rewards running backs that excel at running between the tackles and for Williams to find a niche in the Colts backfield he will have to show that during training camp.

Williams indicated on the conference call with local media that he feels he can find a place on special teams as well which is something that all late round draft picks must be productive at in order to see their name on the 53-man roster.

Ballard and Brown were the mainstays last year for the Colts but there is room for a third back (outside of Carter) and Williams will be in the thick of that battle.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 5:14 pm

Things are beginning to pick up for the Colts as they close the draft with three picks in the final 62 selections.

The first of those choices came late in the sixth round with Indianapolis adding Oregon safety John Boyett.

How does this pick impact the Colts?

When you get into the later rounds of the draft, guys with injury history seem to come off the board at a frequent rate.

That is the case with Boyett as he missed virtually all of his senior season with a knee injury.

Boyett is known as a hard-hitting safety and at 5’10” and 205 pounds he brought physicality to the backend of the Oregon secondary.

As a three-year starter for the Ducks, Boyett led Oregon in tackles twice during his career in Eugene. In 2010, Boyett earned All- America honors after recording 78 tackles, 14 pass deflections and five interceptions.

In Oregon’s 2012 Rose Bowl Championship win over Wisconsin, Boyett tied a bowl record with 17 tackles (13 solo.

Boyett indicated on a conference call with local media that he played through knee pain during his junior season and did not miss a game in his career at Oregon until 2012.

The starting safeties are all but set in Indianapolis with veterans LaRon Landy and Antoine Bethea.

Behind them, is a pair of special teams aces in Sergio Brown and Joe Lefeged.

Expect Boyett to join that mix and while the aggressive safety might not make an immediate impact there is no questioning his ability when healthy.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 2:41 pm

After the Colts traded their fifth round pick in 2013 to trade up and select T.Y. Hilton, it looked like Indianapolis would have a break during the fifth round this year.

But Ryan Grigson and company got back in the fifth round in 2013 when they traded up to the No. 139 spot to choose defensive tackle Montori Hughes out of Tennessee-Martin.

How does this pick impact the Colts?

The trench picks continue to pour in for the Colts as Indianapolis traded a fourth round pick in 2014 to move into the fifth round and select Hughes.

At 6’4″, 329 pounds, Hughes will line up at the nose tackle position for the Colts and scouts said “the nose guard possesses enough functional strength needed to stop the lead blocker and ball carrier at the line of scrimmage…he has good quickness and short area balance, along with adequate change of direction agility to work his way down the line.”

Hughes has past experience in a 3-4 defense and he said that the Colts told him he will be lining up in the middle at the next level.

Stopping the run is something head coach Chuck Pagano has stressed this offseason and Hughes is another wide-body that can occupy blockers in the middle of a three-man front.

2012 starter Antonio Johnson is gone but the Colts have plenty of options at the starting nose tackle spot.

Veteran free agent addition Aubrayo Franklin joined the Colts in the offseason. Indianapolis returns Martin Tevaseu, who started two games at nose tackle last year.

The Colts are also hoping to have the services of Brandon McKinney and Josh Chapman, both players who missed the entire 2012 season due to knee injuries. McKinney has experience in Pagano’s scheme from their time together in Baltimore, and Chapman should be full-go after the 2012 fifth round pick sat out last year following January 2012 knee surgery.

Franklin is the veteran, Tevaseu is the returnee, McKinney/Chapman are returning to form and now Hughes comprises a group of five nose tackles that provide competition at a position that is so vital in a stout rush defense.

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Posted in Colts Blog


Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 1:38 pm

The Colts began the final day of the NFL draft with four picks and the fourth round selection came on the interior of the offensive line with Khaled Holmes from USC.

How does this pick impact the Colts?

Ryan Grigson made it clear during the offseason that the offensive line would be upgraded in 2013 and after three picks of the NFL Draft, he is holding true to that word.

Holmes, who started 37 games over four years, was considered one of the nation’s top centers at USC and battled through a high ankle sprain during his senior season.

Like most interior prospects, Holmes has the ability to slide over to guard and will join A.Q. Shipley as an offensive lineman that can snap the ball and play alongside the center position.

Holmes started 24 games at center and 13 at right guard during his time at USC.

Last year, Holmes was a Rimington Award Finalist, given to the nation’s top center.

In 2011, Holmes was apart of a Trojans offensive line that allowed the second fewest sacks in the nation (eight).

Holmes, who is the brother-in-law of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, hails from Mater Dei High School, which also produced former USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

The depth along the interior of the Colts offensive line all of a sudden has some quality depth with Holmes joining center Samson Satele and center/guard A.Q. Shipley.

At the guard position, returning starters Mike McGlynn and Joe Reitz will face competition from free agent addition Donald Thomas and third round draft pick Hugh Thornton.

Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano have stressed the need to keep quarterback Andrew Luck upright in 2013. The additions through free agency and the draft have given the Colts a “cauldron of competition” over the next few months along the offensive line.

It’s no secret that the line was a point of emphasis this offseason and these additions should allow Pep Hamilton to use his multitude weapons in the Colts new offensive scheme.


Posted in Colts Blog


Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 10:56 am

Indianapolis Colts: From Madden Mathis to the real thing, Bjoern Werner’s unexpected journey
Madden, Mathis among Werner’s influences
Colts question for the day: How’s Bjoern Werner’s motor running?
NFL Draft 2013: Colts select Illinois offensive lineman Hugh Thornton in 3rd round
Colts’ plan will demand earning positions
Thornton the next piece in Pagano’s vision
Colts add some “nasty” to the offensive line
Bjoern Werner’s international success story is truly one of a kind
Local prospect Hugh Thornton awaits new home in NFL Draft
Is Thornton another OL starter for Colts?
Warmack salutes Colts’ Drake Nevis

Off the radar on the roster

Montgomery could be handful for Texans
Is Zaviar Gooden too similar to Brown?
Brennan Williams to compete with Newton
Can Wreh-Wilson help get Verner inside?
Dwayne Gratz helps Jaguars restock at CB
Swearinger can cover TEs for Texans
In Hunter, another piece for Locker
Cyprien should start ASAP for Jaguars
What the four first-rounders are saying
Second-round options for AFC South
Report: Jaguars target CB with No. 33
Nuggets on new guys in the AFC South
Bruce Matthews on Luke Joeckel

Second-round pick eases safety concerns
Titans should look to defensive line today
NFL Draft: Jaguars select Johnathan Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz on Day 2
Packers extend QB Aaron Rodgers
Te’o time in San Diego; Geno Smith goes to Jets

Bill drafts for need
With NY Jets picking QB Geno Smith, the Mark Sanchez Era is over

NY Giants strengthen defensive line, add Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins and Texans A&M’s Demontre Moore
Bears take LB Bostic in 2nd round

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Posted in Colts Blog


Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 10:00 am

When Ryan Grigson labeled the 2013 NFL Draft as a ‘trench-draft’, a player with a wrestling state championship on his resume falls right along with the general manager’s assessment.

Hugh Thornton captured the 2008 Idaho Wrestling State Championship at the heavyweight division and then moved to Ohio during for his senior year, where he placed third.

Wrestling has taught Thornton discipline, hard work and endurance but there is one particular trait that sticks out in his mind.

“The main thing that it taught me was composure,” Thornton said of wrestling. “My coach in high school, coach Laughlin, he was an Olympic trial coach back in the day and one thing that he taught me is just perseverance, persistence and dedication.”

The singlet has been turned in for shoulder pads but Thornton is still battling in the trenches.

Over the course of four years, Thornton started at least eight games at three different positions for Illinois.

Offensive guard seems to be the position that Thornton will get his first crack at with the Colts and Grigson had the third round draft pick labeled as the most dominant guard of any at the 2013 Senior Bowl.

“I’m just overjoyed that I got this opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting in there for OTAs and rookie minicamp, busting my tail and competing,” Thornton said late Friday evening.

Even though the Colts did not bring Thornton in for a pre-draft visit, the offensive guard has a previous connection with the team’s coaching staff.

Colts offensive line coach Joe Gilbert recruited Thornton and was his position coach at Illinois from 2009-2011.

During their time together, the Fighting Illini offensive line paved the way for school records in total points and helping running back Mikel Leshoure rush for a school record 1,697 yards in 2010.

The two have stayed close over the past few years and Gilbert actually worked Thornton out at his pro day last month.

After Gilbert joined the Colts last season, the two will now be reunited after some helpful advice from teacher to pupil during the past few weeks.

“I talked to coach Gilbert and obviously I was getting stressed over the draft,” Thronton said.

“(Gilbert) told me, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just keep you head up, stay focused and be ready to work whenever your name is called.’ To know that I get to work with him and the Colts organization is so incredible. It’s kind of surreal right now.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 10:00 am

Chandler Harnish wanted to get away from it all.

It was the final day of the 2012 NFL Draft and Harnish had been keeping close tabs on the quarterbacks selected in the first three rounds, knowing that his name had a chance to be called on that Saturday.

The weather in northeast Indiana wasn’t ideal. Yet, despite 40 degrees and blustery conditions, Harnish and some family members headed out to a local golf course.

It was a chance to decompress from everything that comes with being a bubble draft prospect and while golf offered a brief escape, Harnish couldn’t help but get himself back in front of the television.

“We wanted to get our minds off it because they were just as stressed out as I was,” Harnish said. “By the time we were done golfing the draft was still going on, so naturally we go back to one of my cousin’s houses and we all sit down and watch it together. That probably made the process a whole lot worse when it comes to stress and just kind of building up those butterflies.”

The butterflies started to grow throughout the seventh round and some frustration crept in as Harnish watched pick after pick go by without hearing his name called.

As preparations for free agency began for Harnish, his cell phone rang with a “317” area code showing up.

“Everyone in the room got real silent, real still and Mr. Grigson just asked me if I wanted to be an Indianapolis Colt and I said, “Heck yes I do.”

“All of a sudden it went from being the worst day ever to being one of the best days ever,” Harnish said.

Harnish also spoke with Chuck Pagano and his future head coach told him to sit back and watch the pick live while celebrating with family and friends.

The pick of “Mr. Irrelevant” has grown over the years and come Saturday the Colts will once again have the honor of the final pick in the NFL Draft.

Since 1976, the pick has turned into a celebratory matter with the person selected winning a week vacation in Newport Beach, Calif.

When Harnish looks back a year he can’t help but laugh of the whirlwind of emotions he experienced on the final day of the draft.

Undoubtedly another prospect will go through the same swing this Saturday before ultimately joining the Indianapolis Colts.

“Just have fun with it,” Harnish said of his advice to this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant”. “You can’t take it as a bad thing. They are going to joke around with it but it’s a blessing to get drafted and to end up on a great team like the Colts.”

Posted in Colts Blog


Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 9:38 am

After patiently watching for 42 picks to go by Friday evening, the Colts made their lone choice of the night when they selected offensive guard Hugh Thornton out of Illinois. Below are some analysts from various national outlets weighing in on Thornton:

National Football Post: The Colts continue their strong draft by selecting Thornton. An extremely strong player, he can drive defenders off the line and stop power rushers in their tracks. Impressive for such a strong player, Thornton can also get to the second level fast and is a good blocker out in space. Thornton should start at guard for the Colts in 2013 and become a mainstay on their offensive line. Thornton has gotten into trouble off the field so there are character concerns to consider here. In terms of the film, his ability to adjust to the speed and the complexity of the defenses is the biggest concern, based on below average awareness on tape. His natural ability isn’t an issue. He shows above-average quickness and balance for a 320-pound interior offensive linemen, and he’s even shown the ability to line up at tackle. This offensive line wasn’t consistent last season, especially in pass protection. That’s not good when you have a franchise quarterback. The Colts are making the transition to a bigger, more physical line, and they tried to address some of their weaknesses in free agency. Thornton is the physical kind of guy they want as an inside mauler, and he has played both guard and tackle, which provides versatility. Indy’s coaches will look for the best  spot to fit him in.

FOX Sports: He’s a tenacious blocker with great upper body strength. Lacks some pure lateral movement.

CBS Sports: He is a tough-guy guard that goes to a team in need of it.’s Mike Mayock: “He’s one of those guys you root for. He’s been through a lot. I liked him at the Senior Bowl. If he can be more consistent with his technique, he’ll make a good living in the NFL.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on April 26, 2013 – 10:03 pm

It seemed almost fitting with former Pro Bowl tackle Tarik Glenn announcing the 86th pick for the Indianapolis Colts that the team would then choose an offensive lineman.

Hugh Thornton, an offensive guard out of Illinois, was the name that Glenn read during Friday evening’s third round.

How does this pick impact the Colts?

A Senior Bowl participant, Thornton played in 42 career games for Illinois while starting 35 of those contests at both guard and tackle.

Versatility along the line is something that the Colts had to rely on last season and Thornton gives Indianapolis a player that can line up at a variety of spots.

Last season, Thornton started 10 games at left tackle and also started seven contests at right tackle during his freshman campaign of 2009. In 2010 and 2011, Thornton started 18 games at weak-side guard for the Fighting Illini.

Thornton was apart of an Illinois line that led the Big Ten in rushing in 2010, while also breaking a school record for points per game.

In high school, Thornton was a two-time Idaho state heavyweight wrestling champion before moving to Ohio for his senior year.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said that Thornton graded out as the top guard during this year’s Senior Bowl and that was after a senior year where he started at left tackle for Illinois.

During the offseason, the Colts acquired Donald Thomas on the interior of the offensive line to go along with five different players that started at least one game at guard or center last season.

With 16-game starter Mike McGlynn returning at right guard, the Colts can now add Thornton to the names of Thomas and Joe Reitz at the guard position.

Depth along the offensive line is something that the Colts lacked at times in 2012 but with two veteran offseason additions and an All-Big Ten selection in the draft, Indianapolis has positioned themselves to create some quality competition through training camp.

Posted in Colts Blog