That made the wide receiver the highest-rated player still available when the 29th overall selection arrived in Thursday’s NFL draft in Chicago.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano said they stuck to that board, although many expected a pick to strengthen a defense that has struggled in blowout playoff losses at New England in each of the past two postseasons.
“It just shows that we stick to our guns when it comes to taking the best player on our board,” Grigson said. “It’s not just party talk and that’s what we did today.”
Dorsett is a promising speed burner who ran a 4.3 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and was even faster at 4.29 and 4.27 during his pro day. He’s expected to get his first NFL action as a slot receiver.
The two men were asked about building the defense.
“The whole run deal, we’re going to get that fixed,” Pagano said, referring to the Colts allowing 177 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Patriots debacle. “We finished 11th overall in total defense (last) year. We had some games that were disappointing.
“There’s enough players on that board where there will be people there tomorrow and Saturday, and we’ll add the right pieces. Certainly, like Ryan said, we stayed true to the board. When you’ve got a guy up there that’s got rare, rare traits you don’t pass on it.”
They gushed about the Miami Hurricanes receiver’s speed.
“That would be his speed and he’s a phenomenal human being,” Pagano said. “He’s a great kid, played at a great school and they know how to win, guys coming out of there. They’re wired the right way. He’s not just a track kid playing football. This is a tough son-of-a-gun who will catch the ball in traffic.”
Grigson said the Colts wanted to see Dorsett at his pro day after meeting with him at the combine.
“That type of speed doesn’t stay around very long,” Grigson said. “No matter what the prognosticators are saying, or the mocks or anything like that. When you’ve got 4.25 on grass that actually shows up that fast on film, somebody’s going to take a stab at him. Especially when he has natural receiving skills on top of it. He can return punts, he’s got lateral allusiveness as well and can really stick his foot in the ground too, and he runs good routes. That’s pretty evident on the clips they showed when he got drafted.
“Again, it was easy when we looked at our board on who to take. Like coach said, he’s a great young man, he’s a horseshoe guy. I know you guys love that. But he is. He’s the epitome of one that happens to run a 4.25 and play it.”
Pagano referred to Dorsett, who scored 10 touchdowns in 13 games as a senior, as a football junkie.
“He’s very passionate about the game. He’s very passionate about his craft. He’s a hard worker. The skillset speaks for itself,” Pagano said. “He’s got all the stuff that it takes to be very, very successful in this league as a receiver. He’ll develop into being a really good kick returner for us. There’s so many things that you can do with a guy like this from a gadget play type. Reverses, speed sweeps, whatever. It’s unlimited because he is tough and he is durable.
“The biggest thing is, we keep going back to horseshoe guy. He had the rare, rare trait in the speed, but he’s a great football player and he loves the game. He loved this place. He’s got some fellow (Hurricanes) on the football team. That’s going to be obviously helpful in the transition for him.”
Grigson added that Dorsett is a “clean, clean kid that’s got a million dollar smile and just has good energy and will work his tail off like those Miami guys do.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.