INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts have decided who to take with the No. 1 draft pick.
They’re just not planning to let the secret out until April 26.
After months of speculation, scouting and scrutinizing, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson finally told reporters Wednesday that the Colts have a plan for their first No. 1 overall selection in 14 years.
“We’ve known for a little while. We’ve done all our due diligence,” Grigson said during a 30-minute news conference. “Unless there’s an unforeseen problem or something like that, we know what we’re doing.”
Team owner Jim Irsay has repeatedly said the team will choose Peyton Manning’s successor, presumably either Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winner. If the Colts take Luck, the Washington Redskins are expected to take Griffin with the second pick next Thursday night.
Luck was expected to go No. 1 in 2011 before returning to school for his fourth college season. His resume looks like an exact replica of Manning’s — both stayed in school one year longer than expected, both finished as Heisman Trophy runner-ups and both had fathers who played quarterback in the NFL.
While the Colts sent a larger contingent of scouts to Griffin’s pro day in Texas than Luck’s pro day at Stanford, Luck had a personal workout for the Colts and traveled to Indianapolis for a personal interview. Griffin was advised by his agent to do neither and, apparently, it wasn’t the only reason Griffin didn’t come to town.
“You get to a point where you know what you’re going to do,” Grigson said.
Grigson would not say whether the Colts have started negotiating with either player.
In an email sent to The Associated Press, Luck’s agent, Will Wilson, declined to comment on whether the Colts had told him of their decision or whether contract talks had begun. Luck’s father, Oliver, also did not provide those answers. Luck has been attending classes at Stanford, and is trying to finish one architectural course that is offered only in the spring.
“I have not had any communication with any of the folks with the Colts. I stay out of all that,” Oliver Luck said in a phone interview. “And I’ll keep my conversations with Andrew private.”
Whether the Colts would start talking about a contract over the next week, in hopes of having a deal in place before next Thursday, remains unclear.
“We’ve kicked it around. I don’t know what the true advantage is to go early,” Grigson said. “At this point, we’re focused on picking the guys.”
The Colts are still trying to figure out where they are in their massive offseason overhaul, too.
Grigson’s comments came less than an hour after the Colts wrapped up another voluntary workout at the team complex, a practice that included perennial Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne, who usually stays in Miami for workouts until the team’s mandatory offseason mini-camp.
Wayne altered his traditional plans because of all the changes Indy has made.
Grigson replaced the father-son front office tandem of Bill and Chris Polian in January, then brought in new coach Chuck Pagano to replace the fired Jim Caldwell. Pagano has almost an entirely new staff, and some players have even found new spots for their lockers.
The biggest change, of course, is not seeing No. 18 around town.
Manning was released March 7, a move designed to help quicken the rebuilding process, and eventually signed with Denver. Two days later, the Colts cut a handful of other veterans including defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark and running back Joseph Addai. Longtime center Jeff Saturday, emerging receiver Pierre Garcon and backup tight end Jacob Tamme all left in free agency.
And those who returned, like Wayne, are still trying to get acclimated to their new surroundings.
“I’m moving around, can you believe that? It’s the first time in 11 years.” Wayne said, drawing laughter. “My game plan is the same whoever throws the ball — catch and make something happen with it. I met Drew Stanton, I know that guy.”
By next week, Wayne will have to introduce himself to another new quarterback.
Until then, he’ll be catching passes from someone else.
“I don’t know his name,” Wayne said when asked about quarterback Trevor Vittatoe. “I know it starts with a V.”
Inside the locker room, players are content to stay out of the great draft debate. Most have only seen Luck or Griffin play in small bits on television, and nobody wanted to debate the merits of how the new quarterback would fit in with a team that is trying to replace Manning and starting almost completely over.
Instead, they’re trying to get their minds wrapped around a playbook that Wayne described as Greek.
Not everything is new, though.
“I was very fortunate to play with a guy like that (Manning) and you see the work habits he had and I try to emulate those habits every day,” running back Donald Brown said. “He will always have an influence here, him and guys like Jeff, like Dallas, like Joseph, they left a footprint on us and we’re trying to carry that legacy on.”
With a new quarterback under center.
“I think when you know, you know,” Grigson said.