Polian Grades on his Own Curve

Bill Polian has never been a big numbers guy. The team president of the Colts would much prefer to ascertain the readiness of players for the National Football League by reviewing their collegiate careers in total. In fact, Polian has yet to attend one of the many Pro Days that prospective draftees conduct each spring in the months before the draft. And he doesn't plan on starting any time soon.

"I put more value on what they do in shoulder pads and helmets in four years," Polian said. "Pro Days are about numbers, and we can gather the numbers. I would never grade a player based on how he performed on his Pro Day. I'm not good enough to do that."

If the veteran NFL executive were to look at numbers, it would be what somebody did at the annual National Football Scouting Combine rather than what a player may do at an on-campus site.

"There are less variables at the combine," he said, "because the surfaces on which players run and all of that stuff varies from school to school, but they (colleges) run it (Pro Days) on the up and up. There's nothing untoward about it. It's just that there are more variables. I would never judge a player based on how he physically performs at a Pro Day. It's just about the numbers."

If anything, Polian is an information guy. Look at the video tape. Look at the statistics that the players put together over a three or four-year span. Mix that in with data gleaned during one-on-one interviews as well any medical reports that were gleaned during the combine.

"We gather that data and put it into the system. We finish the physical and background data and put that into the system," Polian said.

When all of that information is entered into the Colts computers, Polian comes away with a pretty good idea of what's doing to transpire over the two days of the draft.

It's what those involved in the Colts draft process referred to as "The System." And for the most part, it's a "System" that has served Indianapolis well in recent years.

"If you had a wide receiver graded as second round and it was believed he was a 4.5 guy and he runs 4.75, you'd want to determine which time is accurate and why," Polian said. "That's the kind of thing you do as you input stuff into the system. If that hypothetical developed, you wouldn't have that receiver in the second round at that speed, so you'd make a pretty drastic reduction in his status. That's rare, and you shouldn't do it unless it's for a drastic reason."


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