INDIANAPOLIS – During the 2013 NFL season, 76 undrafted rookies found their way onto 53-man rosters.
While that breaks down to just over two players for each team, the Colts were an outlier.
A total of six UDFAs were on the Colts 53-man roster at various times last year, contributing to a team that was riddled with injuries.
It’s a part of the process Ryan Grigson and his staff take very seriously and that was a major focus during the extra two weeks prior to the 2014 NFL Draft.
Attrition is real in the NFL so finding those gems that don’t hear their name called after 256 picks earlier this month, is a must to successfully survive a season.
That’s something Grigson addressed at his pre-draft press conference in late April.
“We’re looking at different avenues on how we can be productive on draft day with just five picks,” Grigson said. “I think after the draft (and) with the depth of this draft, I feel that’s really an area to really target. We’re going to really streamline that process, go and try to get those guys we covet who are still sitting on that front board of ours and go after them with guns blazing to hopefully create that top 61-man roster with the practice squad."
Grigson and the Colts brass got their first live look at their 2014 rookie class over the team’s three-day rookie minicamp this past weekend.
When the Colts undrafted free agent list was announced last week, a pair of high-major prospects sparked some intrigue.
During his time at Florida, the 6-1 and 189-pound Purifoy was a special teams stalwart along, with making 19 starts are cornerback.
However, some off the field issues impacted Purifoy’s draft stock and he was one of eight Gators to go undrafted.
Purifoy, who battled an ankle injury during rookie minicamp, acknowledges his mistakes and he believes the situation in Indianapolis is the right fit to help him reach his potential.
“I made a connection with them during meetings at the Combine,” Purifoy said of the Colts.
“They kind of brought me to tears at the combine, in the meeting room. That made me closer to them. They said it would be a family here and so far, it’s a family.”
Next to Purifoy in the Colts locker room is his college teammate,
When Harrison, a three-year starter at center for Florida, went undrafted earlier this month he did his research in trying to find the most opportune place to make the roster.
The Colts don’t have an incumbent starter at the center position, and Harrison is a durable, interior lineman who played in 51 games (39 starts) at Florida.
Odds say that come September at least one of the Colts newly signed undrafted free agents will find their way onto the 53-man roster.
It’s only been a week but Harrison has made a strong first impression on head coach Chuck Pagano.
“The center’s a really smart guy and tough,” Pagano said of the 6-4, 299-pound Harrison.
“From a technical standpoint, it looks like he’s been well-coached. Really pleasant surprise, really pleasant surprise.”