Numbers: 6'2 (6023)/257 pounds/4.63 forty-speed
2005 stats: 30 tackles, 22 assists, 12-57 tackles for loss, 9-47 sacks, 1-0-0 interception, 1 pass deflection, 3 forced fumbles with Syracuse
2006 preseason: 4 tackles, 1 assist, 1-14 sack, 1 pressure, 1 pass deflection with Baltimore
The player: If you look at your draft books and sites, you'll read that LaCasse is a typical lightweight tweener pass-rusher who lacks bulk at the line of scrimmage. Although that's basically true, LaCasse's story is a bit more complicated than that. Unlike most of those guys, LaCasse is an excellent open-field tackler and often uses his surprising strength effectively against opposing linemen, especially in the running game (although he could find that tougher in the NFL). He's also effective in space, with an economy of movement, and isn't a dead loss in coverage, allowing him to be helpful in zone blitz situations. He has such good initial pop and stays low enough that he can even be effective on inside stunts. But at just 257 pounds, he can be defeated pretty quickly if the lineman gets his hand on him. LaCasse, who has gotten by on talent, also needs to learn more pass-rush moves and better ways to use his hands.
How he fits: The Colts spoke with LaCasse before the draft and I was surprised they didn't draft him. He played well enough with the Ravens in preseason action, although somewhat out of sorts as a 3-4 OLB instead of his natural 4-3 DE position. With the unexpected shortage of backup DEs in Indy (Jonathan Welsh and George Gause were cut and Johnathan Goddard is out for the season), LaCasse could easily walk into a part-time job.
Reminds me of: ND Kalu, the former Eagles fifth-round pick, who has carved out a nice career as a pass-rush specialist (26 career sacks) and is now with the Texans.
Ryan LaCasse (AP Photo/Joe Sadlek)