Colt Scout: Another LB Polian Watched

According to a report from one of our network sources, Bill Polian recently checked out some college talent and watched an exciting LB prospect who fits the mold of what the Colts look for at the position. Find out who it is in Jerry Langton's Colt Scout feature...

Xavier Adibi
LB, Virginia Tech

6'0 (6021) / 226 pounds / 4.56 estimated forty-speed

2006 stats: 17 tackles, 37 assists, 3-6 tackles for loss, 1-2 sack, 2-45-0 interceptions, 8 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble 2005 stats: 28 tackles, 41 assists, 7-17 tackles for loss, 3-7 sacks, 2-50-1 interceptions, 4 passes defensed

The player: Don't confuse this Adibi with his older brother. While Nathaniel (who had a cup of coffee with the Colts) was an exciting size/speed prospect who never really performed at an NFL level, Xavier is a player. He doesn't put up huge big-play numbers largely because his job in the Hokies' defense is to pursue from sideline-to-sideline, tearing up plays where he can. And he does that with aplomb. He has great instincts, quick reactions and the mean streak a pro prospect needs. Just as effective against the pass as he is on the run, Adibi is a skilled blitzer who takes deep drops on zones and has he is fluid in coverage. Of course, he has the usual problems that come along with smaller linebackers, like shedding blockers and getting engulfed by bigger linemen, but he has the potential to improve and not just by adding a bit more meat to his frame.

How he fits: The Colts seem to lose a starting linebacker to free agency every year, so the need for depth and starting prospects is always there. The current Will, Cato June, is an accomplished player but will be an unrestricted free agent after the season while the Sam, Gilbert Gardner, will be a restricted free agent and hasn't really established himself. The team has a pair of serviceable veterans with little upside — Rocky Boiman and Keith O'Neil — and some prospects with no significant regular season LB action yet — Freddy Keiaho and Tyjuan Hagler — so they'd really be in a bind if they lost June or Gardner. Adibi plays the game the way the Colts like and could be much more effective in the pros than he is in college. So, while Adibi looks like he could be an effective starter for the Colts, whether he becomes one or not depends on a lot of factors. While many draftniks are predicting Adibi to go in the third round, he looks like the type who shoots up draft boards and it's likely the Colts would have to spend a first-round pick or make yet another trade to get him.

Reminds me of: Ian Gold, a surprise second-round pick by the Broncos in 2000 who's carved out an exceptional career and helped redefine the prototype at the position.

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