Grigson: 2013 rookies are work in progress

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
5:00
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts and their fans were spoiled by the 2012 draft class that season.

Led by quarterback Andrew Luck, five players in that class -- T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Vick Ballard -- played significant roles on their 11-5 season last year.

The same can't be said about the 2013 draft class.

Guard Hugh Thornton and linebacker Bjoern Werner were the only two players from last year's rookie class that started a game with 12 and one starts, respectively. They're also the only two players to play more than 68 snaps last season.

That should cause some alarm, especially for fourth-round pick guard/center Khaled Holmes, who played a total of 12 snaps despite all the offensive line injuries and production problems at times last season.

“They’re works in progress,” Colts GM Ryan Grigson said. “I think we were in a different place in 2013 than we were in 2012. In 2012 it was kind of, the more the merrier. It was throw everybody in a bottle and see what comes out. In Year 2, we had players who had earned their spots, we had more guys established at positions. So, it's a good problem to have.”

The Colts want Werner, who finished with 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season, to get stronger during the offseason. Thornton can only get better after starting 12 games in place of the injured Donald Thomas (quad). Grigson said the defensive line play must improve, so that means the chance to play is there for Montori Hughes -- if he has a strong offseason. Hughes was placed on injured reserve at the end of the regular season with a knee injury, and depending on what happens in free agency and the draft, the opportunity will be there for Hughes to move up the depth chart.

“Training camp is when you see where your rookies are,” Grigson said. “If we have players who have established themselves who we can trust more or are better at the present time, it’s hard to tell where they’re at. So this upcoming training camp is going to be huge. Our team as a whole, it’s Year 3. It’s time for everybody to bring their A game. So, everybody’s got to be at the top of their game this offseason because we have high expectations.”

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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