Colt Scout: Former NFC LB Works Out for Indy

Jerry Langton fills you in on the skills of a former NFC linebacker that the Colts checked out this week, and where he would fit with the Colts.

Kyle McKenzie
OLB, Minnesota

Numbers:
6'0 (6003)/ 228 pounds /4.61-4.63 forty-speed (NFL Pro Day)

2006 preseason stats: 2 tackles, 1 assists, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble with Minnesota Vikings

2005 stats: 41 tackles, 15 assists, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 pass deflections with the Minnesota Golden Gophers

The player: McKenzie was a nicely productive middle linebacker as a Golden Gopher who showed an ability to blitz, cover and pursue from sideline to sideline. He plays smart and is a favorite of coaches and scouts alike (before the draft, many observers rated him higher than Colts third-round pick Freddie Keiaho). The problem with McKenzie is that he comes up short in functional strength for his position. It was easily evident that McKenzie was ill-equipped for the heavy lifting inside when he was in college and that inability to shed blockers and get to the ballcarrier in traffic may prevent him even from being effective at weakside linebacker in the pros unless he's protected, spotted or both. Although he knows how to tackle, he's not a heavy hitter and doesn't cause many fumbles or much intimidation on pass routes in his territory.

How he fits: The Colts traditionally open their arms to undersized, active linebackers and McKenzie has a better resume than most. If he is signed it would be for depth/special teams and if he demonstrates more strength and hitting ability than he did in college, he should have a legitimate shot at a backup job in 2007.

Reminds me of: Wesly Mallard, a sixth-round pick by the Giants in 2002, who many teams projected as a safety. He's kicked around the league for a while and has been pretty good on special teams and has also contributed on defense.


(Getty Images/Darren Hauck)

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