As busy as I am, I was in a rush to post about the UDFAs until I found out the Colts had traded the Outlaw Jerry Hughes to the Bills. The reason I don’t rush to say who they traded him for is because I kinda don’t care. Just getting Hughes and his stupid contract out of town is good enough for me.
Lots of people (including me) were delighted when the Colts drafted Hughes in the first round of the 2010 draft. But since then, he’s been terrible on defense, worse on special teams and has demonstrated some very un-Colt-like behavior. He’s not a bad person, just not a Colt. Begone, I says, good riddance to ya.
In return, the Colts get inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. Pressed into duty last year, he did okay. He looked pretty much like I thought he would (I see a lot of the Bills up here). A bit overwhelmed, but generally okay. He’s actually kind of the opposite of what you expect from inside guys in that he’s better in coverage and blitzing than he is in stuffing and shedding.
He may never amount to much, and the Colts are very deep at his position. But any return for Hughes at this point has to look like gravy.
So, onto the UDFAs:
Denodus O’Bryant HB Lindenwood
2012 stats: 198-1,205-11 rushing, 38-537-3 receiving, 13-300-1 kick returns
It’s funny that the Colts added O’Bryant after drafting Utah State’s Kerwynn Williams because they are pretty much the same back. Both are compactly built guys who play much bigger than they are at halfback, and are excellent return men and good receivers. And, of course, neither is big enough for many reps and at halfback in the NFL and neither would be much help against a determined blitzer, either. To pick nits (and that’s what I do here), Williams is a more accomplished receiver, playing split wide or in the slot throughout much of career, while O’Bryant’s the better returner. I first noticed him in 2009 when he went a ridiculous 13-477-4 on kick returns and followed it up in 2010 when he went 11-384-2, while on his way to becoming the Lions’ primary ball carrier. His 18 reps and 38-inch vertical at his pro day helped, too. It appear that the Colts are looking for a dedicated return man who can also serve as a score-from-anywhere threat on offense.
Dan Moore FB Montana
2012 stats: 76-413-4 rushing, 11-203-1 receiving
Moore’s a lot like the Stanley Havili, the fullback the Colts recently traded to get. Both are smaller, more athletic-style fullbacks who are more effective than devastating as blockers, but have good receiving skills and the ability to run the ball. Moore’s versatility — he played fullback, halfback and H-back in college, as well as special teams — make him valuable in the Colts’ offense. But like Havili, Moore’s had injury problems.
Jamal-Rashad Patterson WR Stanford
2012 stats: 16-271-2 receiving, 4-59-0 rushing
What, another offensive player from Stanford? Well, Patterson’s more of a track guy who has yet to find himself in football. An occasional starter for the Cardinal, Patterson needs to develop in many aspects of the game before he’s an NFL-quality receiver, though. The fact that he’s not a return guy doesn’t help his cause, but familiarity with Andrew Luck and Pep Hamilton does.
Rodrick Rumble WR Idaho St.
2012 stats: 74-1,006-6 receiving
The Colts signed another big, unheralded receiver. But, unlike Patterson who was unproductive at a big-time program, Rumble was very productive at a lower-status program. Another track guy, and an accomplished basketball player, Rumble will have his work cut out for him to make the team. Again, it’s unlikely he’ll play any part in the search for a return man.
Lanear Sampson WR Baylor
2012 stats: 52-546-6 receiving
A reliable complementary guy in college, Sampson’s problems with getting off the line of scrimmage and being creative about getting open will probably be magnified in the pros. He has some kick return experience, but has not excelled at it. The key for Sampson would appear to be improving his toughness and strength.
Jerome Cunningham TE Southern Connecticut St.
2012 stats: 29-337-2 receiving
So, the Colts have a big blocking tight end who can catch the odd outlet pass and goes by J. Cunningham? Make that two.
Emmett Cleary OT Boston College
2012 stats: Offensive line, dude
Anthony Castonzo’s pal, roommate and replacement at Boston College, Cleary is gifted with a big frame, but not with elite athleticism. He could develop into a swing backup tackle, though.
Jordan Bright DE Indiana St.
2012 stats: 7 tackles, 16 assists, 5-19 tackles for loss, 1-9 sack, 2 hurries
This year’s token Sycamore is a 3-4 DE/4-3 DT-type who saw little action in college due to injuries and players ahead of him. A long shot.
C.O. Prime ILB Wagner
2012 stats: 32 tackles, 66 assists, 2.5-6 tackles for loss, 0.5-2 sack, 1-12-0 interception, 3 pass deflections, 1-0-0 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles
An undersized small-college DE and DT, Prime will be given a short at inside linebacker with the Colts. He has the athleticism, but it will be quite a step up for this kid from football-crazy (trust me on this) Laval, Quebec.
Nigel Malone CB Kansas State
2012 stats: 44 tackles, 7 assists, 5-102-0 interceptions, 23 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble
Remember the corners Bill Polian used to like? Talented in all ways, but so small they were pushed around with impunity? Well, Malone’s one of them. Still, he has the skills to be a pretty decent NFL slot corner.
Sheldon Price CB UCLA
2012 stats: 30 tackles, 7 assists, 0.5-0.5 tackles for loss, 4-8-0 interceptions, 14 passes deflected, 1 blocked kick
While Price looks the part and has all the measureables, he has not shown consistent cornerback play in college. His best hope is that the Colts coaching staff teach him something UCLA’s did not.
Daxton Swanson CB Sam Houston St.
2012 stats: 33 tackles, 13 assists, 1.5-6 tackles for loss, 4-29-0 interceptions, 32 passes defelected, 1-0-0 fumble returns, 2 forced fumbles, 1 blocked kick
Another undersized corner, Swanson is an excellent athlete who could emerge as an extra DB.
Nick Driskell S Mount Union
2012 stats: 63 tackles, 38 assists, 3-23 sacks, 14.5-57 tackles for loss, 2-4-0 interceptions, 11 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, 2 kicks blocked, 1-1-0 rushing, 2-53-1 punt returns
It wouldn't be the Colts if they didn't grab a guy from Mount Union. Driskill was an amazing do-everything guy for the Raiders, playing everywhere on the field on defense and special teams and even occasionally on offense. Guy’s a player, don’t count him out.
Michael Josifovski K Marian
2012 stats: 15/26 field goals, 55/56 PAT, 83-5,103-35 kickoffs
Another local kid. Kicker is a weird situation for the Colts. Vinatieri is set to retire, and McAfee looks primed to replace him, but can he really handle punting AND kicking? And will he keep signing one-year tenders? The Colts need to audition. This kid’s got a decent leg, needs a bit of psychological toughness.
Brandon McManus K Temple
2012 stats: 14-17 field goals, 32-33 PAT, 56-3,556-40 kickoffs, 54-2,433-17 punting
A bigger guy, a better athlete and a stronger leg than Josifovski, and he can punt. But does he have the stuff the realize that he’s facing two potential hall of famers for a roster spot?