Colts collect two more picks while adding T.J. Green, Le’Raven Clark
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Consider the second day of the NFL Draft a win-win situation for the Indianapolis Colts.
Not only did they get the players they were after Friday – Clemson safety T.J. Green in the second round and Texas Tech offensive tackle Le’Raven Clark in the third round – they also picked up two additional picks along the way.
A trade with Green Bay as the Colts were on the clock with the 17th pick of Round 2 netted the extra selections that will be invested Saturday, perhaps to help the pass rush. While flipping second-rounders with the Packers – the Colts fell back from 48 to 57 and snatched Green – general manager Ryan Grigson came away with another fourth-rounder (No. 125 overall) and another seventh-rounder (No. 248).
That gives the Colts five picks in Saturday’s final four rounds.
“It’s great,’’ Grigson said. “The scouts are so ecstatic. Our owner’s ecstatic that we moved eight spots and we got two picks out of it and still got our guy.’’
Irsay mentioned it was as if the Colts found a fourth-rounder on the floor in the hallway outside the draft room.
“It was like it was laying on the ground and we picked it up,’’ Grigson said. “All we had to do was wait. We did and we still got our guy. It doesn’t always happen like that.’’
Had the trade with the Packers not materialized, the Colts would have stood pat and taken Green.
Coach Chuck Pagano indicated the decision to move back in round 2 wasn’t unanimous.
“There was somebody standing on the table saying, ‘Let’s go do it now. Let’s not risk losing him,’’’ he said with smile. “But we had great foresight. It all worked out.
“We got two more picks and we got the same guy. It was a brilliant move.’’
The Colts view the 6-3, 205-pound Green as an athletic freak with tremendous upside. He opened his Clemson career as a wide receiver before switching to safety after his freshman year. He started 15 games as a junior, then declared early for the NFL draft.
Some teams looked at him as a possible cornerback after he turned in a blistering 4.34 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine. It was the fourth-fastest time at the combine, and the second-fastest among all defensive backs.
“On the film you don’t see a player that really lacked instincts or lacked awareness,’’ Grigson said. “He can be a four-core special teamer. That was another thing that got us fired up about him.’’
The addition of Green follows the Colts selecting Clayton Geathers in the fourth round of the ’15 draft. Starter Mike Adams is a two-time Pro Bowl selection, but he also turned 35 in March.
“He’s got a huge ceiling . . . he’s going to grow and grow and grow as he learns,’’ Pagano said of Green. “He’s going to be able to come in and play behind Mike Adams and Clayton. The ball skills are really off the charts.’’
After addressing the secondary, the Colts continued to upgrade their offensive line. Twenty-four hours after using their first-round pick on center Ryan Kelly, they added Clark.
It wasn’t happenstance. Management decided to concentrate on bolstering that area through the draft after steering clear of any veteran free agents.
“We weren’t fired up with what was out there obviously and we have to be selective with the money we spent,’’ Grigson said. “And we wanted these guys to grow and develop.
“It is what it is. We wanted to solidify that group, but we also wanted to get players that we think have starter ability.’’
Clark, a rangy 6-5, 316-pounder, started 51 games at Texas Tech. He was a starting guard as a freshman before moving to left tackle.
With Anthony Castonzo entrenched at left tackle, Clark likely will be included in the right-tackle mix. Or at right guard.
“We think he’s got real good versatility,’’ Grigson said. “Early on in the process we were trying to find who was the most athletic guys out there, doing some comparison shopping.
“He was in the very small, elite group of movement skills and length where you can stand alone and block sometimes. That’s hard to come by.’’
Clark enjoyed a solid work out with position coach Joe Philbin. He was asked what he knew about the Colts.
“I’m going to be blocking for Andrew Luck,’’ he said with a laugh. “Can’t get much better than that.’’