What’s in a name? Colts’ post-draft signings include Griffey and Jeter
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – At a time when unfamiliar names flood NFL rosters in the post-draft pursuit of additional talent, two are neon-bright with the Indianapolis Colts.
Among their batch of undrafted collegiate free agents are a Griffey and a Jeter.
OK, only one has bona fide baseball roots.
That would be Trey Griffey, the son of baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. The former University of Arizona wide receiver was one of more than a dozen undrafted collegians signed by the Colts following this weekend’s seven-round, 253-selection NFL Draft.
Colin Jeter is a 6-6, 265-pound tight end out of LSU with no apparent ties to baseball.
The backgrounds of Griffey and Jeter aside, each will be given every opportunity to advance his football career. And no one should casually dismiss that opportunity.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, prior to the latest wave of undrafted free agents, there were more undrafted free agents on NFL rosters (481) than first- and second-round draft picks combined (480).
Let that sink in.
That Colts are no strangers to undrafted players making the roster and making a difference: Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt, Dominic Rhodes, Terrence Wilkins, Justin Snow.
Last season, eight undrafted rookies got on the field: Curt Maggitt, Josh Ferguson, Chester Rogers, Mathias Farley, Luke Rhodes, Christopher Milton, Tevaun Smith and Frankie Williams.
“The undrafted guys are, in my mind, no different than a draft pick,’’ general manager Chris Ballard said. “They’re going to get the same opportunity, and if they win the job, then we’ll move on from the other guy.
“You can’t preach competition and not live it.’’
Ballard pointed out what transpired with a pair of rookie cornerbacks last year in Kansas City. The Chiefs wound up waiving KeiVarae Russell, a third-round pick out of Notre Dame, and keeping D.J. White, a sixth-rounder out of Georgia Tech.
“You can’t be scared to, you can’t preach competition and not live it because I promise you, the locker room knows,’’ Ballard said. “They know who deserves to make it and who doesn’t deserve to make it.’’
Undrafted free agents, he added, are “very important. Those guys are every bit as important as our draft picks. We don’t have camp bodies. In my mind, there’s no such thing as a camp body.
“If they’re not good enough to make us better, then we need to find somebody better that can upgrade that spot.’’
Griffey, a 6-3, 192-pounder, had 23 receptions for 382 yards and two touchdowns last season, his first as a front-line player. Jeter, who appears to be more of a blocker than receiver, had 23 catches for 289 yards and two touchdowns in his career at LSU.
The Colts have not announced any post-draft signings, but at least 10 have been confirmed through the player, his agent, or his college.
Among the new Colts: Ball State safety Martez Hester; Washington tight end Darrell Daniels; New Hampshire running back Dalton Crossan; North Carolina receiver Bug Howard; Duke long-snapper Thomas Hennessy; Penn State defensive end Garrett Sickels; Utah cornerback Reggie Porter; Aurora cornerback Justin Gibbons; Mississippi College running back Chris Lyles; Rutgers offensive lineman Chris Muller; and Louisville running back Brandon Radcliff.