His reasoning is quite sound.
“We get so much information on the draft process for almost 13 months,” he explained. “So for 13 months we’re working on these college players. We watch them on tape, we watch them in practice, we watch them live, we talk to their coaches, we do psychological, we do medical and we have all this information. When you look at free agency, you don’t have any of that. All you see is what you see on tape. You don’t have that intimate feeling of what the guy really is. You can’t interview him. So in the draft process, we draft and then develop.”
Looking at the Indianapolis Colts during Telesco’s tenure there, it’s clear to see why he believes in constructing his team through the draft.
Here’s a list of some of the great draft picks during Telesco’s time with the Colts to name a few:
Peyton Manning (1998, 1st Overall) - One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, Manning led the Colts to two Super Bowls, including a victory in Super Bowl XLI in 2006. Manning is a four-time NFL MVP, 12-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP. For his career, he’s thrown for 59,487 yards and 436 touchdowns.
Edgerrin James (1999, 4th overall) – A dynamic back that fit perfectly in the Colts system, James played seven seasons for the Colts. When he left the team following the 2005 season, his 9,226 rushing yards were most in team history. A four-time Pro Bowler, James was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor this past September.
Reggie Wayne (2001, 30th overall) – Wayne is still lighting it up for the Colts in his 12th season with the club, recording 106 receptions, 1,355 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. For his career, the wide receiver has 968 catches, 13,063 yards and 78 TDs. A six-time Pro Bowler, Wayne led the NFL in receiving yards in 2007 with 1,510.
Dwight Freeney (2002, 11th overall) – Freeney just wrapped up his 11th season with the Indianapolis Colts. One of the greatest defenders in team history, he is a seven-time Pro Bowler and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. For his career, the defensive end/ linebacker has recorded 298 tackles and 107.5 sacks.
Dallas Clark (2003, 24th overall) – Clark established himself as a favorite target of Manning during his nine-year career in Indy. A Pro Bowler in 2009, he broke the franchise’s record for receiving yards for a tight end with 1106 yards, and set the franchise record for touchdowns for a tight end in 2007 with 11.
Robert Mathis (2003, 138th overall) – In his 10th season with the club, Mathis has proven to be a steal. Drafted in the fifth-round, the linebacker amassed 438 tackles and 91.5 sacks. Mathis has been selected to the last five Pro Bowls.
Bob Sanders (2004, 44th overall) – When healthy, Sanders was one of the premier defenders in the game. For his career he totaled 302 tackles and six picks. Sanders’ best season came in 2007 when he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year after recording 96 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions.
Antoine Bethea (2006, 207th overall) – Drafted out of an unheralded college (Howard), Bethea was a sixth-round gem that continues to pay dividends for the Colts. A two-time Pro Bowler, the safety has recorded 489 tackles and 12 interceptions over his seven year career. Most impressively, Bethea started every game he’s played in, beginning with Indianapolis’ Super Bowl season his rookie year. In 2012 he eclipsed the 100 tackle plateau for the fourth time in his career.
Pierre Garcon (2008, 205th overall) – Garcon was another sixth-round steal for the Colts. Over his five-year career, the wide receiver has 232 receptions for 3,152 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Pat Angerer (2010, 63rd overall) – One of the most unsung defenders in the NFL since entering the league, Angerer is a tackling machine. In three seasons, he’s amassed 264 tackles, including a whopping 148 last season.
Andrew Luck (2012, 1st overall) – A prized prospect coming out of college, Luck more than delivered in his rookie season. He threw for a rookie record 4,374 yards along with 23 touchdowns. Luck led the Colts from a 2-14 record in 2011 to an 11-5 mark and a playoff berth in 2012.
T.Y. Hilton (2012, 92nd overall) – Unearthed from tiny Florida International, Hilton had a big impact immediately for the Colts. Used primarily as a slot receiver, he caught 50 balls for 861 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie and has a bright future.