Shortly after Jonathan Welsh was selected by the Colts early in the fifth round, NFL.com's Gil Brandt commented that Welsh is a bit on the short side for a defensive end, but marveled over his great speed and pass rushing skills. And Brandt stated that this is a DE who has the ability to play well in open space, so the Colts could be looking at him as a LB prospect. At just 244 pounds, Welsh isn't likely to see much action at DE as he occasionally struggled at the collegiate level when engaged at the line, especially against the run. He relies on end-around speed and low leverage, similar to Dwight Freeney's technique to get pressure on the passer from the DE position.
started 11 out of 12 games last season at RDE for the the Badgers. He finished
his collegiate career with 134 tackles, including 23 for a loss, 13 sacks and 3
The Colts were evidently convinced that the Welsh wouldn't still be on the board by the time they got to pick in the fifth round, so they swung a deal with the Eagles for the fifth round pick they had obtained through an earlier deal with Dallas. Here's what TFY and some of our ColtPower sportswriters had to say about this pick:
Take: A solid athlete who displays a variety of skills on the football
field, Welsh is a good prospect at outside linebacker and would be effective
stood up over tackle in a 3-4 defense. Size/speed numbers make him a solid
middle round choice.
Brent Foshee of ColtPower Says: Jonathan Welsh is exactly the type of player that will excel in Tony Dungy's defensive scheme. A DE at Wisconsin, Welsh looks like a wide receiver -- tall and thin -- and is best suited as either an outside linebacker in a 3-4 or on the strong side in the more traditional 4-3 defense. He may take a year to develop, but Welsh -- should he continue to apply himself and progress as a player -- could be a starter as early as 2006.
John Cimasko of ColtPower Says: Even though everyone projects him as a LB, Polian and Dungy haven't addressed it yet. When the media assumed that Robert Mathis would be used as a LB after he was drafted. Bill Polian immediately came out into the media room and cleared the matter up saying they intended to use Mathis as a DE. Although Polian hasn't come out for his press conference on today's picks yet, he hasn't rushed out to clarify how the Colts plan to use him, so the assumption that he will be a LB prospect rather than DE could be accurate. In any case, the Colts urgency to get him on board was clear through their willingness to give up a fourth-round pick in the 2006 draft.