Colt Scout: New DT Dan Klecko

When the Colts trimmed their roster this weekend, a player that the New England Patriots had released jumped off the page at them. They wasted no time in putting in a waiver claim on him. Find out why from ColtPower's Jerry Langton...

Dan Klecko
DT, Temple

Numbers:
5'11 (5114)/283 pounds/4.95 forty-speed

2005 stats: 5 tackles, 4 assists, 0.5 sacks, 3-18-0 receiving with New England

2006 preseason: 2 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass deflection

The player: Klecko has the heart and mind of a top NFL player that just happens to be a body that's a bit short and equipped with legs that are perhaps a bit too thin. Still, he plays a lot better than you'd expect a 5'11 defensive tackle to be able. His strength and agility are simply amazing and he can make things happen even in the most confused trench warfare. He has a great initial pop, some good pass-rush moves and effective arm skills. His vision is extraordinary and he is particularly deadly on stunts. That said, Klecko can play over-aggressively and can be fooled by traps, screens and, less frequently, play action. His short arms limit his ability to separate once a blocker has locked on and he's very unlikely to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. 

Perhaps even more important for the Colts is Klecko's ability on offense. The Patriots have used him effectively as a fullback on short-yardage and red-zone situations, and he has proven to be a major load as a lead blocker. Although his lack of speed limits his effectiveness as a skill-position player, he has decent hands and can punish a tackler who tries to take him down on a dump-off pass. Injuries have been a problem for him in the past.

How he fits: Klecko fits the Colts' defensive scheme and could be effective as a extra tackle, particularly late in games when tired guards will hate having to face his kamikaze style. He'll also probably get reps at fullback, a spot where the Colts need help. Although he's much better blocking for the run, he's still a better pass blocker than any of the Colts other backs.

Reminds me of: At tackle, he reminds me of the Eagle's undersized dynamo Mike Patterson (although Klecko lacks his overall athleticism and polish). He's not really similar to many NFL fullbacks, but could become a Cory Shleshinger-type if he continues to develop.


Peyton Manning fumbles the ball while being tackled by Dan Klecko on November 30, 2003 at the RCA Dome (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


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