AFC South: Grigson wins Exec. of Year

AFC South: Grigson wins Exec. of Year
January 28, 2013, 5:30 pm
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A year ago the Colts finished their season with the worst record in football.

But in 2012, the Colts enjoyed a great draft and an even better season. The Colts went 11-5 and earned a trip to the playoffs in general manager Ryan Grigson's first season with the team.

For his efforts, Grigson was named as Sporting News' Executive of the Year. The Associated Press does not name an executive of the year, so the Sporting News' designation is acknowledged as the official award.

Grigson edged out Denver Broncos executive vice president John Elway 9-8. Seahawks GM John Schneider got three votes, while Texans GM Rick Smith and Redskins GM Bruce Allen took two apiece.

So what did Grigson do to earn the award?

It was pretty obvious that selecting Andrew Luck was the right move. Sure, some would have argued in favor of Robert Griffin III and there are plenty who still would, but Luck worked for the Colts and looks to be the franchise’s quarterback of the next decade.

But what made Grigson’s draft so brilliant were the picks after luck. He took Dwayne Allen and T.Y. Hilton in the third round. He took Vick Ballard in the fifth. Then, he found linebacker Jerrell Freeman in Canada.

Thirty-seven of the 53 players on this season’s roster were new. That’s an incredible turnover and it makes their 11 wins pretty astounding. But aside from drafting players and bringing in new blood, Grigson had to decide what to do with the veterans on the team. He re-signed Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis and let other guys go. It looks like he made solid calls there.

Grigson, 41, spent 2004-2011 with the Eagles in various roles -- the last being Director of Player Personnel -- before Jim Irsay hired him to run the Colts.

Grigson was a sixth-round pick in the 1995 draft to the Bengals out of Purdue. He played just one season in the NFL. He did play for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL in 1997 before a back injury forced him to retire.