Posted by Andy Benoit
Colts president Bill Polian is one of the best talent evaluators and roster managers in pro football. He has nailed virtually every first-round pick he’s used (Manning, Edgerrin, Wayne, Freeney, Clark, Addai – even Anthony Gonzalez was living up to his billing before injuries set in).
But lately Polian is on a bit of a cold streak. He traded a first-round pick in 2007 to move up and get offensive tackle Tony Ugoh in the second round. Ugoh is currently out of the league.
In 2009, Polian chose Donald Brown. The Connecticut running back has been borderline awful. Brown can dart around in the open field, but he clearly lacks the quickness and vision to be a quality NFL runner (particularly between the tackles). Durability has also been a problem.
Neither Ugoh nor Brown appear to be Polian’s biggest whiff, however. On his Indianapolis radio show this week, Polian admitted that he made a mistake in the first round of this past April’s Draft. Instead of using the 31st overall pick on Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold, Polian used it on TCU pass-rusher Jerry Hughes. Polian’s show is not available to people outside of Indiana, but Matt Gregor of StampedeBlue.com offered a paraphrase of what Polian said:
When we did our evaluations on Saffold, we felt he would be a right tackle, and we really liked Hughes, so we drafted Hughes,” Polian said. “In hindsight, however, we should have taken Saffold. He's been great this season. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Saying Saffold has been great is another way of saying Hughes has been terrible. Indeed, Hughes has barely played in the nine games that he’s been active. He has three tackles and no sacks on the season.
Obviously, it’s not often that NFL personnel executives talk about players – and especially players still on the roster – like this. It’s possible the Colts are getting desperate for ways to light a fire under Hughes.
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