Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Some points of interest from Colts president Bill Polian at the team's pre-draft press conference Friday.
He was asked about drafting early vs. drafting late and touched on the numbers Roger Goodell used on Mike & Mike earlier in the day:
"Drafting early has become a huge economic liability. The Commissioner spoke about that this morning. He talked about $600 million committed to players in the first round and $400 million of which is guaranteed. That has tilted the draft dramatically. When you're drafting up high, you're risking a tremendous amount of money in a process that's far from exact. If you bat slightly better than .500 in the draft, and that means the entire seven rounds plus collegiate free agency, the likelihood is that you're going to the playoffs. Those are not odds that I want to bet $400 million on. The increase in rookie salaries, particularly at the top of the round, has skewed the draft and made the risk at the top much, much greater. In addition, that skewing goes all the way through the first round when you start to talk about picks 20 through 28, or 20 through 30. You may be saying, 'Is this a position we can afford to pay? Is this a player that we want to pay? Is he going to have a second contract?' All of those types of things come into play. That's all part and parcel to the salary cap and the salary system."
I'm sure Polian has talked about draft day batting averages before. But for a guy with a great track record to say a bit over .500 is a playoff-caliber average is additional compelling evidence that the first-round pay scale has to be addressed and fast.
He didn't talk about specific spots -- we know where most of them are -- but did share what seems a candid opinion on the current state of the roster:
"You can never have enough quality depth, and while I think we are a pretty good team from top to bottom, I'm not sure we are a good 53-man team at this point in time, which is always what we strive to be. We're close, but we don't know if we're there. Virtually every position probably could use some quality depth. Now, it isn't names on a depth chart. It's quality depth, people who can come in and contribute and win in the National Football League. There's a difference between names on a depth chart and those that can win in the National Football League, and that's what the process is all about."
Buffalo's signing of running back Dominic Rhodes -- a player many thought the Colts would still try to get back -- won't alter anything, and he didn't sound like a decision-maker soon to draft a running back with any kind of premium pick.
"We have people on this squad that can contribute and play. I don't think it forces us to take a running back at all."
Once the draft gets past the Bills at No. 11, he said he'll start to have a sense of things and made the wait for No. 27 to come around sound like a painful process in the draft room.
"It's very muddled because the first eight picks are all in flux depending on at least if you believe the gossip that's floating around where trades may take place. Until you get past Buffalo, you won't have a picture of what's available to us and what may be available to us. Then there's a point where you go past a series of teams where you say, 'Our guy could go right here or right there.' You just watch it at that point. The first third of the draft you are looking for developments that affect the second and third part of the draft (first round). The middle third of the first round, you begin to presume that you're losing guys that you really like. You are invariably. The last third as it get close to your pick, you begin to sweat, pace and worry about whether you should trade. We planned this all in advance. We'll be ready for any eventuality."
And how many guys do the Colts are interested in at 27?
"About a half dozen," Polian said.
I think we're safe presuming he means guys that he thinks actually have a shot of being there.