ColtPower has learned that first-year defensive end Thomas Houchin out of Kansas State is working at strongside linebacker with the first team.
Although starter David Thornton is still at summer school sessions, he continues to be waiting patiently to test his surgically repaired groin before joining in the live action. While he waits, Houchin is getting a shot at most of the reps at strongside linebacker as Kendyll Pope spends more time with the second unit at middle linebacker behind projected starter Gary Brackett.
Houchin signed with the Colts last April as an undrafted free agent, but was place on injured reserve in August due to a tricep injury and missed the 2004 season.
A right defensive end in college, Houchin had impressive career stats with 105 tackles, 9 sacks, 15 tackles for losses and 6 passes defensed over the span of 37 games. The Colts had the 6'3, 261-pounder pencilled in at defensive end this season, but in mid-May decided to shift him to linebacker. The move has obviously paid off as he is getting plenty of reps with the first team along with middle linebacker Gary Brackett and weakside linebacker Cato June.
Based on a report we received from one of our sources, backing up Houchin at the strongside position are rookies Nick Hannah out of Eastern Oregon and Mikal Baaqee out of Virginia Tech. Baaqee had been projected as a candidate for middle linebacker depth after Tyjuan Hagler's injury was discovered.
Defensive End Works With First Team Linebackers
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