Grigson opts for ”˜unique’ players

By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS  — Ryan Grigson may never have another draft class quite like this one.

After scouring the nation’s best college football players, the Colts general manager used his first three picks on a German-born pass rusher, an interior lineman who played college football in the Midwest and started high school in Idaho and a center whose father has spent nearly four decades working for the Saudi royal family.

Soon, Indianapolis will find out if they’re as big a hit on the field, too.

“In terms of their off the field and overall stories, they are all very unique human beings and some of their stories are amazing what they’ve overcome,” Grigson said after making the last pick of the weekend — 264-pound tight end Justice Cunningham. “The first two guys off the board were just amazing. The other ones, whether it’s injury stuff or lack of size, these guys have all been resilient and that’s what these guys are really all about and that’s what we’re all about.”

It was no secret that this year’s draft was uniquely strong along the offensive and defensive lines.

So Grigson, a former offensive lineman, played to the strengths.

He chose college defensive end Bjoern Werner with Indy’s first-round pick, No. 24 overall, with visions of turning him into an outside linebacker.

Then Grigson plugged more holes along an offensive line that allowed 41 sacks and dozens more hits on franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. Even though the Colts signed two potential starters in free agency, right tackle Gosder Cherilus and guard Donald Thomas, Grigson took Hugh Thornton in the third round and center Khaled Holmes in the fourth.

Indy expects Werner to solidify a pass rush that struggled with the switch to 3-4 last season and is now without Dwight Freeney, the Colts’ career sacks leader.




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