Switching Places in Hopes of Becoming a Colt

Undrafted free agent Dan Federkeil is hoping to make the Colts roster as an offensive lineman -- without scaring Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in the process.

Undrafted free agent Dan Federkeil will have to be alert in the Colts' rookie mini-camp that begins on May 5th. When Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd calls out for his offensive linemen to gather on the field, someone may have to give Federkeil a nudge to remind him that he's supposed to get out there. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound lineman primarily played defensive line for the University of Calgary with only spot duty on the offensive line and no real formal training.

Federkeil was selected in the first-round of the Canadian Football League's Draft by the Toronto Argonauts, but opted to join the Colts when they called with a job offer -- even though it meant moving to the offensive side of the ball as an offensive tackle.

"It's a tough position to learn and a tough one to play well," he told the Calgary Sun. "It's a challenge for me to switch but I should be able to compensate for what I don't know with my athleticism."

Federkeil played in the East-West Shrine Game, drawing the attention of NFL scouts with his performance. The Colts and the Jets worked him out prior to the draft, but the Colts reeled him in with a three-year contract offer. Rookie minimums, which are typically offered to undrafted free agents, are slated at $275,000 for 2006. The 22-year old lineman reportedly received a $3,000 signing bonus.

Blessed with long arms that will serve him well on the offensive line if he works on his technique, Federkeil is also a tireless player who runs a sub-4.9 forty-yard dash. He's already learned how to use leverage to his advantage in his trench battles from the defensive side. And his understanding of the defensive lineman's mentality and technique should be an asset. Federkeil will have plenty of competition as he tries to make the transition. The Colts have eleven returning linemen who were in the 2005 training camp or the team's practice squad, drafted two more, and signed three other undrafted free agents. That's seventeen big fellas waging a major battle to survive the team's final cuts.

In addition to making the final roster, Federkeil expressed one other hope.

"I hope I'm not scaring the bejeezus out of Peyton when I'm part of his offensive line," he said. "It's a completely different mindset when you go from offense to defense."

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