LB Notre Dame
Numbers: 6'4 (6036)/245 pounds /4.62 forty-time
2005 stats (Titans): 11 tackles, 9 assists, 1-2 tackles for loss, 15 special-teams tackles
2006 preseason (Cowboys): 2 tackles
The player: In 2003, injuries forced the Titans to play a young Rocky Boiman more than they wanted to. They liked the second-year player's fire, explosiveness and premier tackling ability, but his lack of polish (mostly a lack of effective hand use and some lapses in play diagnosis) made them think he'd be better off as a part-timer and special teamer. Although he put up some nice numbers, showed he was a dangerous blitzer and something of a ballhawk, he didn't have the play-in, play-out reliability NFL teams look for in a starter. He had lots of great qualities, but was just too easily fooled by misdirection and handled by smart linemen to carve out a starting spot.
His excellent vision, explosive first step and splattering tackling ability did help him establish a solid reputation on kick and punt coverage teams, though. Over the next two years, he established himself as a valuable part-timer and special-teams demon, although his development was slowed by a calf injury. When his rookie contract terminated, he signed a nice deal with the Cowboys. But he didn't wow them in preseason and didn't really fit into the Bill Parcells defense where OLBs are really DEs and the ILBs are thumpers.
How he fits: As good as the Colts have been over the past few years, their special-teams coverage units have been no better than mediocre. Bringing in Boiman will certainly be an upgrade over the guys they had back there the past few seasons. In addition, although he's no Derrick Brooks as a linebacker, Boiman has enough skill and experience that if injuries or ineffective play create an opening, he can take over without too much worry.
Reminds me of: Boiman plays so much like James Davis of the Lions, it's eerie.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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