Please Welcome another great contributor to the Horseshoe Review!
By Ryan Ramseyer. @RamsEar on Twitter.
With all the hoopla about what the Colts should or shouldn’t be doing with their first two picks round 1 pick #24 and round 3 pick #86, I started wondering about potential late round steals or undrafted hidden gems; the now cliché diamond in the rough, the next Jeff Saturday or Gary Brackett. I know different websites and draft gurus grade prospects differently, however I will be utilizing information from a variety of well respected sources to help generate a list of potential signees from the draft– round 6 and beyond. Please keep in mind this is my opinion based on a particular player’s style of play, character, and or any other intangibles that make me perceive him as a future pick up by the beloved Indianapolis Colts.
It is highly likely that some prospects mentioned below will be drafted earlier, as this happens every year. A team may really like a certain player’s skill set and completely reach a round or two early or they may have scouted something they liked that others may have missed, i.e. Bruce Irvin last year. No one would have imagined Irvin to be drafted that early especially in the first round. Several draft gurus figured this to be a major reach for the Seahawks, but last year Irvin posted 8 sacks, definitely a great first year worthy of a round one selection.
I am not some out of the closet guru, just a fan. I am not a journalist, just a sloppy procrastinating guy who sometimes pretends he can formulate a decent coherent statement using words, but who also happens to love the Indianapolis Colts. Please excuse my grammatical and spelling mistakes, because frankly this is not a (expletive) thesis on the social ramifications of a sports fan or some other psycho-babble bullshit. Honestly, I spent some time to try and find some players that I liked and felt that maybe they could represent a need or use for the Colts. This “need” may not be an immediate need, so some of these suggestions will include raw or developmental players, but again these are late round or UDFA where we can afford to take the risk.
This will be a two-part series, one of offensive players and the other of defensive. I’m going to break the offense down further to make each projection by position. After each position and list of players, I will write a brief synopsis of each player based on scouting reports I have read throughout the inter-webs, and/or my own interpretation of skill set.
- Michael Hill, Missouri Western, (5’10, 204)
At 5’10 and 204 pounds, Hill is the ideal size at running back. The Colts have already shown interest in Hill, as well. He is a little heralded player out of D-II, but was invited to the Raycom game. At the Raycom game, Hill posted 2 touchdowns on 12 carries, as well as 148 rushing yards against some of the Nation’s top talent.
- Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt (5’8, 216)
Stacy is a high character guy who spends his free time working with special education children and local charities. Stacy is also exceptionally athletic and he posted great numbers at the combine to include: top performer of RB at the three-cone drill and bench press, and at his Pro day he measure 10’6” on the broad jump. His junior and senior year he posted over 1100 yards rushing in each year.
- Zach Line, SMU (fullback) (6’, 232)
Measurable are 6’ and 232 pounds, Line is a decent pass blocker, decent receiver out of the backfield and a decent straight-ahead runner although he is not a power back. Makes good moves in open field, however doesn’t possess great speed. In the Colts offense, Line would be a viable option as a fullback that could come out of the backfield. I believe his skill set is made for the WCO, and he could grow at this position.
- TJ Moe, Missouri (5’11, 204)
Moe’s name has been thrown around a lot by Colts fans as a possible late round pick. He is a great route runner with reliable hands, however he would almost exclusively be used as a slot receiver, where he excels is going through the middle. This is exciting, but I can’t seem to shake images of Austin Collie, when I think of Moe. I love Collie, but I do not want to see another player take the hits in the middle of the field the way Collie did, so Moe would make me nervous in that regard. He is though, a physical strong guy that put up 26 reps on bench press. Gil Brandt compares Moe to Wes Welker.
- Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech (6’3, 233)
Davis is a big athletic receiver, and produces good to decent down the field blocks for the running game. Davis is a project player, but he possesses good vision and looks a ball in, especially good in the deep to intermediate routes. Some of the bad, he seems to not finish routes from time to time; I’m not sure if it is laziness or being selfish because he wants the ball, either way he needs to finish routes.
- Courtney Gardner, Sierra College ( 6’3, 215)
Gardner is a small school prospect; however he has prototypical measurements for an NFL receiver. Originally, Gardner was going to transfer to Oklahoma for this season, but behavioral or academic problems kept this from happening, so he declared for the draft. Hard to find a lot of information on this kid, but he seems to be gathering the attention of several scouts throughout the NFL. Makes fluid cuts running routes and has a deceptively quick first step. Also, he is a physical type receiver.
- Rodney Smith, Florida State (6’4, 219)
Fast receiver and runs good routes, however doesn’t play as big as he should. Drops too many deep passes where he has to adjust and lacks strength going against smaller cornerbacks. Size and speed make Smith a project/developmental player.
- Dan Buckner, Arizona (6’4, 215)
Big possession type receiver, lacks down field speed, but has strong hands and good ball jumping ability. Difficult to tackle by small cornerbacks, and has a good spin move after a catch.
- Luke Marquardt, Azusa Pacific (6’8, 315)
Marquardt is a big strong guy and has excellent foot work. He always keeps his feet moving, which is extremely helpful in the passing game when working against faster defensive ends. He gets a good pop on blocks. He is however, coming of foot surgery from October and with his size foot problems could mean major problems. He gets in trouble when he stands up, because at 6’8 sometimes being too high could mean losing leverage, but with size and strength Marquardt could develop into a decent right tackle depth guy. Not someone you would want starting all the time, but might be good in a pinch.
- Jordan Devey, Memphis (6’7, 317)
This guy can play either guard spot or either tackle spot; he is extremely versatile. He is also very durable, as he did not miss a snap in his two years at Memphis. Not a lot of strength but possesses good size to make up for some of that.
- Jeff Baca, UCLA (6’3, 302)
This guy attacks his blocks with a good deal of aggression. High football IQ, and uses that to help identify and pick up blitzes. With a little more strength and bulk, Baca has a good chance to go from late round pick to some team’s starter. He is also an excellent blocker in run game. The bad side is that he has suffered from a few concussions.
- Chris McDonald, Michigan St. (6’4, 300)
This guy has been sneaking up draft boards, because of a good showing at his pro day (he was not invited to combine, however some of his pro day numbers put him in the top 5 in bench and top ten in dash). At his pro day, he also demonstrated some work out of the center position. Not a lot of information on this guy, as he was previously thought to be an UDFA, however he may go as early as the 6th round to the right team.
- Travis Bond, North Carolina (6’6, 329)
A big dude with some feistiness too him, Bond is a physical blocker that has long arms and good footwork. He keeps blocking and moving his feet, sometimes even after the whistle is blown. He even possesses enough quickness for pull and trap plays. The bad, sometimes Bond plays too high and gives up leverage to less athletic players, and he doesn’t always pick the right assignment for blitz pick up. A project player with great size would be worth a late round pick. Develop a year or two on practice squad.
- Matt Stankiewitch, Penn St. (center) (6’3, 302)
Not a strength guy, quick guy, or overly athletic, but Stankiewitch is a high IQ, high motor guy that will not quit until the whistle blows. He keeps his hands moving allowing him to readjust his block, also less likely to be flag for holding penalties. He does not do well blocking slanting defenders and losses balance easily, however this could be a technique issue and thus coachable. Plus, he has a pretty cool last name. What Colts fan wouldn’t want to yell and scream about a Stanky-witch. It sure would be a cool jersey.
- Caleb Sturgis, Florida
Sturgis shows good leg strength and accuracy, especially on intermediate to long kicks, but he sometimes struggles with short range. Doesn’t let misses rattle him. Colts offensive and defensive coordinators were at Sturgis’ pro day. This could be a strong indication that Colts are interested in Sturgis as the successor to Vinatieri.
- Brett Maher, Nebraska
Maher performed well at the combine connecting on 14 of 15 field goals, and he continued his good performance during his pro day where he connected on all 10 field goals.
- Zach Brown, Portland St.
Performed decent at his pro day, and apparently impressed some scouts to which they requested that he try field goals around 55 yards deep and look good doing so. Good strength on kick offs with excellent hang time. Just a good all around kicker, could get chance in league but probably as an UDFA.
- Quin Sharp, Oklahoma State
Has the leg strength for 55 plus yards with ease. Good hang time on kickoffs. Sharp adjusts really well to bad snaps. Also, can be a decent punter to the point where he may actually be signed as a punter and not a kicker.
Kick Return Specialist
- Onterio McCalebb, Auburn (5’10, 168)
McCalebb is extremely fast with good change of direction even at top speed. He has returned a kick for a touchdown in each his junior and senior year at Auburn. He runs really well with the ball and has great vision and picks lanes to run through and follows blocks. Also, could be used as a Devin Hester or Dante Hall type back on screen plays or slot receiver. On the bad side, he is a skinny skinny guy and his body may not be able to consistently take the punishment of the NFL. For me, he would be worth a last day pick and/or UDFA signing.
Stay tuned for Part II. The Defense: Pick 6 and Beyond…