The blogosphere (wow, that really is a word) went nuts over Bob "Krabby" Kravitz's article questioning Chris Polian's credentials and his contribution to the team since he arrived in 2005. He is a little late to the party since his article was pretty much a rehash of two articles I wrote on the same subject last year:
Should Peyton Manning re-sign with the Colts?
The Death of Reason: Bill Polian hands reins over to Chris Polian
This caused stampedeblue.com to sound off, causing profootballtalk.com to link to it, causing coltzilla.com and 18to88.com to refute it. What a hullabaloo!
Now even though I have never met Chris Polian, it is difficult not to notice a steep decline in the drafting success for the Colts since his arrival and ascendancy in the organization.
My main interest in this story is that it looks to me that Peyton Manning's career is going to be tarnished by playing on talent-poor teams his last few years. This pisses me off.
One of the arguments that has been put forth is that since the Colts are drafting at the end of the 1st round, that there are slim pickings to be found there. And that is the reason for the lesser success in recent years.
Sorry, but this does not wash at all.
Lets talk draft position. Lets compare the players the Colts got in the 2nd round from 1999-2004 to who they got in the 1st round from 2005-2010. Didn't see that one coming, didja guys?
1999: 36th pick overall, 5th pick in the second round: Mike Peterson
2005: 29th pick in the first round: Marlin Jackson
Winner: Mike Peterson / pre-Chris Polian
Don't get me wrong, I liked the Marlin Jackson pick. But Peterson has had the better NFL career.
2000: 59th pick overall, 28th pick in the second round: Marcus Washington
2006: 30th pick in the first round: Joseph Addai
Winner: Marcus Washington / pre-Chris Polian
Washington left Indy with a lucrative free agent contract and played until 2009. Addai has produced like a 4th round pick.
2001: 37th pick overall, 6th pick in the second round: Idrees Bashir
2007: 32nd pick in the first round: Anthony Gonzalez
Both overall were wasted picks. Bashir was not a fit for the cover-two and Gozalez has been on the outs with Manning when he has not been injured.
2002: 42nd pick overall, 10th pick in the second round: Larry Tripplett
2008: 29th pick in the first round: Tony Ugoh
Winner: Larry Tripplett / pre-Chris Polian
Tripplett was a consistent starter for both the Colts and the Buffalo Bills over six seasons. Ugoh was a nonathletic LT who looked like a mechanical man - stiff and no heart.
2003: 58th pick overall, 26th pick in the second round: Mike Doss
2009: 27th pick in the first round: Donald Brown
Winner: Mike Doss / pre-Chris Polian
Mike started 42 games for the Colts over four season, and was a workmanlike if not spectacular player. He went on to play for the Vikings and Bengals. Brown has been tentative and injured to the rage of Colts fans.
2004: 44th pick overall, 12th pick in the second round: Bob Sanders
2010: 31st pick in the first round: Jerry Hughes
Winner: Bob Sanders / pre-Chris Polian
Sanders was a wonderful shooting star that flamed after several all-pro seasons. Hughes has done nothing at all.
So, in comparing six years on pre-Chris Polian 2nd round picks to six years of Chris Polian-influenced 1st round picks; pre-Chris Polian wins 5-0-1. That is a landslide.
So as I have conclusively demonstrated, draft position is not to blame in any way for our bad draft picks since Chris Polian arrived.