Not along ago, defensive tackle T.Y. McGill was an undrafted rookie whose only NFL tryout offer came two weeks after the draft.
Now he’s joining the Indianapolis Colts after making some preseason plays with the Seattle Seahawks. Although he was among the Seahawks’ Saturday cuts, the Colts claimed the 6-0, 299-pound defender off waivers Sunday.
The Colts needed to address a defensive line with just five players — only one, defensive end Kendall Langford, has started an NFL game.
The team also needed to add a player to the offensive line and claimed rookie offensive guard Robert Myers off waivers after the fifth-round pick was cut by the Baltimore Ravens. Myers earned notoriety during the NFL Scouting Combine for his 33-inch quadriceps. He’s a 6-5, 335-pound lineman with tremendous strength, but became the highest Ravens rookie draft pick to be cut since 2009.
To make room for them, running back Dan Herron was waived injured due to a shoulder injury and the team also waived rookie inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera, a sixth-round pick and one of the Colts’ top preseason tacklers. Herrera became an odd man out after the Colts acquired linebacker Sio Moore from the Oakland Raiders Friday for a 2016 sixth-round draft choice.
While the Colts’ inexperience on the defensive line is still a question mark, McGill gives them the necessary six guys up front, so three players can back up three starters in the 3-4 scheme. And there’s a big hole at defensive tackle after Arthur Jones was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Langford, signed in March free agency, has never missed a game in 112 appearances, including 90 starts. Defensive tackle Zach Kerr played in 12 games as an undrafted rookie last season. Nose tackle David Parry and defensive end Henry Anderson are rookie draft picks out of Stanford.
How McGill fits into the mix at defensive tackle will have to be sorted out, and quickly, with the Colts opening the regular season Sunday at the Buffalo Bills.
Say this for the 22-year-old newcomer from North Carolina State, he made the most of his one opportunity to land a job in the NFL. He was credited with nine tackles for the Seahawks, and The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta listed McGill as biggest surprise cut on Saturday.
Midway through August, McGill’s disruptive play earned him an unsolicited compliment from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
“T.Y. McGill made some plays tonight,” Carroll said in an Aug. 18 story on Seahawks.com. “Yeah and he has (surprised us). All the way through all of our workouts, he’s been impressive. He’s real quick, and he showed it in the game. He played well at the point of attack; he had the great play he makes in the back door in the short-yardage play. But he did some other nice things, too, just playing the scheme. So he helped himself; it was a really good outing for him.”
The Seahawks have one of the NFL’s best defenses, so it’s fair to say he was a long shot to make that roster all along. He joins a team that now has 10 rookies on the roster, a clear indication the Colts decided to get younger and hopefully stronger, especially on defense. Fourth-year nose tackle Josh Chapman, a 15-game starter last season, as well as third-year defensive tackle Montori Hughes were among Saturday’s Colts cuts.
McGill, who lined up at nose tackle for the Seahawks, is hungry to prove he belongs in the NFL.
“It definitely was a motivational thing that I didn’t get drafted,” McGill said in that Aug. 18 story. “It gave me more motivation to come in and prove what I have. That’s how I looked at it. I told my family I was going to work as hard as I can and not have any regrets after it’s over.”
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.