On the second day of the NFL draft, the Indianapolis moved down, added two additional picks in the process and drafted two players.
The Colts switched second-round picks with Green Bay, moving down nine spots to No. 57, where they selected Clemson safety T.J. Green Friday night. The Packers gave up a fourth-round pick (125th overall) and seventh-round pick (248th overall) to move up.
Although Green is listed as a safety, his speed hints at being able to play cornerback. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson acknowledged Green has the speed and cover skills to play in the slot, but the rookie will be a safety.
“He’s a safety,” said head coach Chuck Pagano. “I think people talked about, all the pundits and so called experts, he’s got length. He’s over 6-2. He’s 210-215 pounds. He ran 4.34. Very ,very athletic. Long arms. Sure he could go out there. He’s played safety and that’s where he’ll start for us.”
In the third round, the Colts used the 82nd overall selection on Texas Tech offensive tackle Le'Raven Clark. His choice should foster training camp competition at right tackle, where veteran Joe Reitz and second-year pro Denzelle Good figure to be in the mix. But Clark, 6-5 and 316, is versatile enough to play guard, too.
“We think he’s got real good versatility,” Grigson said of Clark. “I mean he’s got 36-1/4 (inch) arms. I don’t know if there’s longer out there. I don’t know if I’ve been around – I think Winston Justice had 35-maybe-7/8 but I don’t know – 36-1/4 is tremendous. (Offensive line coach) Joe Philbin and I were reminiscing and talking about this player because early on the process we were trying to find who were the most athletic guys out there and doing some comparison shopping and he was in that very small, elite group of movement skills and length to where you could stand alone and block sometimes and that’s hard to come by.
“He can get in difficult positions even in the college film because there’s some development there that needs to happen. But you see him use his athletic ability and length and do things you can’t coach and that’s a lot of times at offensive line, especially at tackle, that’s a little comforting to buy your quarterback time. Even when the technique fails you still have that length and those feet to be able to buy your quarterback that extra half a second that could equal a touchdown or a critical third down conversion.”
Clark said he’s comfortable playing either tackle or guard. Asked what he knows about the Colts, Clark mentioned quarterback Andrew Luck.
“I know I’m going to be blocking for Andrew Luck,” he said with a chuckle. “Can’t get much better than that.”
Clark, a first-team All-Big 12 selection by conference coaches as well as ESPN and Associated Press, started the last three years at left tackle and was a captain this past season.
Green was the third-leading tackler with 130 stops on a Clemson squad that reached the National Championship Game. He had 13 tackles in the championship loss to Alabama.
He’s confident the Colts landed a player worthy of being selected earlier in the draft.
“Obviously I felt like I was a first-round talent, but I wasn’t too big on that because no matter where I would have gotten picked I would have come in with the same mentality,” Green said. “But I felt like I was a first-round pick and I feel like they got a first round player in the second round.”
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