Colts need to make offensive line top priority

At some point Saturday, 32 NFL general managers will shake hands with their boss on the alleged job well done.

“We got the players we wanted” will be among the more common declarations with cameras rolling. Also anticipate a steady dose of, “We’re a much better team than we were three days ago” and “Our fans will love this guy.”

In the sake of fan interest, Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson will lack originality.

He won’t be alone. Anticipate head coach Chuck Pagano and Colts owner Jim Irsay recycling these and similar comments.

Easy as it would be to throw all three beneath the proverbial oncoming bus at the same time, these are men who have mastered the art of eternal optimism.

They won’t tell us what we don’t want to hear because, frankly, we don’t want to hear it.

Grigson hasn’t banked enough goodwill in his four years here to botch whatever contributions he’ll make when the 2016 NFL Draft starts this evening — especially with the Colts coming off an 8-8 season in which they missed the postseason.

Pagano signing a four-year contract extension in January wasn’t the scenario most envisioned. And owner Jim Irsay … good luck hitting that moving target.

Three men with a lot to prove. Individually and collectively.

Before we dive into team needs, are Grigson and Pagano even getting along? Do they talk on a regular basis, eat the occasional meal together and ask about the others’ family with interest that’s sincere, not feigned?

Last we checked, these two were the ultimate oil-water mix. The affable head coach and mercurial GM have had nearly fourth months to find middle ground with Irsay serving as the immaculately-tailored go-between.

Hopefully, what takes place these next three days at the Colts headquarters doesn’t give new meaning to the term “war room.”

While the Colts are in dire need of a difference-making pass rusher on defense, they desperately need to replenish the talent pool on the offensive line.

Otherwise, get used to quarterback Andrew Luck missing as many games as he plays and showing flashes of Anthony Castonzo-like escapability out of the pocket by the time he’s 30.

In four seasons, Luck has absorbed more hits than most pro quarterbacks do in a career. Hard hits. In some cases, painful, potentially career-altering hits (think rookie season at home against Green Bay).

Indy needs to focus on keeping its franchise player upright. Surround him with fun toys to throw the football to — throat clear: “Phillip Dorsett” — in later drafts because it’s not necessary now.

Most mock drafts show Indianapolis addressing offensive line issues in tonight’s first round and then focusing on drafting a rushing end in Rounds 2-3 on Friday.

Barring a trade, I would argue the Colts need to use each of their top three picks — Nos. 18, 48 and 82 — on offensive linemen. This would make up for the years in which the franchise fell embarrassingly short of addressing this need.

If Indy has to spend the next couple seasons winning games and clinching division titles by producing point totals in the 30s and 40s, so be it.

It’s not like it hasn’t followed this philosophy before.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at