The Indianapolis Colts stayed on task with drafting for need, using their 3rd round pick on DE Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns out of Kentucky.
The most interesting aspect of this pick is that Burns is not your typical defensive end as he's established himself as a force against the run, not a pass rusher. One of the SEC's defensive stars, he posted 137 tackles over the past two seasons. And it's that talent that will lead the Colts to try him out at the DT slot on their line according to Colts officials at their press conference this evening.
There's no doubt that Burns' character that he displayed on the field factored into the Colts decision-making. Burns has a reputation for never slowing down or taking a play off. He earned great respect from his teammates for work ethic. And "Sweet Pea" -- a nickname given to him by his family at birth -- isn't a player who goes hot and cold. He has established a reputation for his consistency of play week in and week out.
Burns is a great tackler who is very athletic. He's just not going to post many sacks and pressures while he's on the field. But his 32.5 tackles for a loss are notable and could add some strength to the interior of the Colts' defensive line.
TFY's Take: Were he three inches taller and ten pounds heavier, Burns would be a first round prospect. And while the lack of height will hurt, he is a fiery defender with a non-stop motor who can produce at the next level.
Brent Foshee of ColtPower says: It's hard to tell what was going through the Colts mind when they made this selection. Burns is, like Indy's other defensive linemen, considered smallish for the position. Unlike the other defensive linemen on the roster Burns does not make up for his lack of size with incredible speed or quickness. Bill Polian, however, certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt here and Burns does flash football skills on occasion. The Colts have now, true to their form, spent two of their first day selections on developmental prospects.
From the Media Room
ColtPower's John Cimasko reports that Bill Polian targeted Burns from the outset of the draft. The Colts president said that Burns fits the system perfectly and is similar in some ways to Colts DE Dwight Freeney who plays low with leverage and relies on speed and quickness..
Head coach Tony Dungy agreed, calling Burns a John Randle-type of defensive lineman based on his high energy and skills.
Anticipating concerns over Burns' size at 6'0 and 268 lbs, Bill Polian
chuckled while he told the press that even though they were in Indiana, these
guys weren't playing basketball, so they didn't have to be over 6-foot tall.
Kelvin Hayden's Reaction
Illinois CB Kelvin Hayden stated that he wasn't surprised that he got picked in the second round.
"It was just about what I anticipated," he said. "Late second, third round. I was getting kind of nervous with the third round coming around. So, I got the call and I was very happy about it."
But even though he thought he would get selected in the second or third round, he was candid about his level of experience at the corner position.
"I feel like I still have a lot to learn. Playing only one year at
corner, I'm just getting my feet wet at corner," he said.
But he also sees the same bright future that the Colts must have seen when they targeted him in the second round.
"I feel like I have so much potential," he said. "I feel like I'm getting better day in and day out."
Day One Wrap Up
John Cimasko reports that the Colts feel they got three tough, physical players who can stop the run. Bill Polian stated that the Colts at minimum improved their special teams by 30% today. And Dungy said he was just as happy about improving the special teams as he was about improving the defense at this point.
A key to all three players is that they bring some versatility. Burns could play DE or DT, while both defensive backs are capable of playing corner or safety based on their style of play and physical size. When asked whether the Colts would consider using Kelvin Hayden's experience at WR, John was told that it was doubtful since the Colts are loaded at that position and since Hayden is a natural at the corner position.
Polian said that the Colts did have opportunities to move up and down in the draft today, but they stayed where they were as they liked the way the board was playing out.
John will be back at Colts headquarters for Day 2 of the draft and anticipates that the Colts may try to move up in the fourth round. He pointed out that the Colts have some history of being more aggressive in that round and they have two picks in both the fourth and fifth rounds to use in a deal.