The Washington Times-Herald

Indianapolis Colts

December 21, 2012

Rookie class, the gift that keeps on giving

INDIANAPOLIS — While Christmas is still two days away, it's safe to say that the Indianapolis Colts figure that they've received most of their gifts already.

When it comes to the Colts' 2012 rookie class, the team has certainly gotten much more than they may have thought possible. Of the 10 players selected in last spring's draft, five -- quarterback Andrew Luck, running back Vick Ballard, tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton -- have either won jobs as starters or have received substantial playing time.

Another first-year player, wide receiver LaVon Brazill, has gotten more work as the season has progressed. Two others, offensive guard Justin Anderson and nose tackle Josh Chapman -- have been placed on the team's injured reserve list. Quarterback Chandler Harnish is on the practice squad.

Outside linebacker Tim Fugger was the only draft pick not to make the team out of training camp. Fugger suffered a sports hernia last summer during off-season workouts and was never completely healthy. There's a good chance, however, that he might be re-signed at a later date once he has been cleared to fully participate in athletic activities.

But when looking at Indianapolis' 2012 rookies and the contributions that they've made to the team's 9-5 record, it takes some digging to come up with another Colts' draft class that has made such a huge immediate impact.

Perhaps the 1998 group that provided quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receivers Jerome Pathon and E.G. Green, and offensive guard Steve McKinney is comparable. But the mark of a good, or even great, draft class is how the group does over the long haul. Are they one-year flashes in pan or can they continue to produce over the course of several seasons?

Whatever the case, this year's rookie crop certainly has some impressive numbers to fall back on:

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