Colts Blog: March 30, 2007

An unemployed Rick DeMulling, soured by free agency and life outside on Indy - what more could the Colts ask for? While he prodigal guard may well be welcomed by the Colts, who would see the door?

Rick DeMulling? Now there's a blast from the past. As Ed Thompson reported, the Colts have asked DeMulling if he'd be interested in returning to Indy and, of course, he jumped at the chance.

If you don't know the story, it's a good one. DeMulling was a hardly noticed guard/center prospect out of Idaho who the Colts drafted in the seventh round (the 220th pick) in 2001. He sat and learned for a year, then became a starter. He didn't blow anyone away, but he was a better-than-competent starter with quick feet and downfield skills. When he became an unrestricted free agent in 2005, the Colts decided they couldn't afford to keep both DeMulling and Ryan Diem, so they signed Diem and wished DeMulling luck. He signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the Lions and was installed as a starter. But the Lions expect different things from their guards, don't have great positional coaches and don't have a quarterback with a quick release or a halfback with an exceptional cutting ability. After a few dreadful efforts, he was asked to sit down and considered nothing but a highly paid special teamer and cheerleader by the "brain trust" at the Silverdome.

With the signing of DeMulling, the Colts have created an interesting conundrum. He played very well in Indy (allowing just three sacks and recording but one penalty in 41 starts) and would probably merit a starting role. While he's a natural center, he won't budge incumbent Jeff Saturday. The Colts just re-signed Ryan Lilja and tendered Jake Scott, last year's starting guards, and have the No. 3 guy, Dylan Gandy, under contract. It's possible they could pull Scott's tender, but I'm not sure a Scott-for-DeMulling swap would be an upgrade either talent- or salary-wise. Perhaps the Colts know something we don't. If another team were to sign Scott to an offer sheet they couldn't match (a distinct possibility) and they had DeMulling in hand, they could wave good-bye to Scott, replace him with a similarly skilled player familiar with the system and take the other team's fifth-rounder — something of a win-win situation.

At any rate, the DeMulling situation bears serious scrutiny.

• I've been told the Colts did not attend Missouri Southern tackle Allan Barbre's pro day workout. He seems just their type, but may be overdrafted after he ran a 1.65 10-yard dash and jumped 32-inch vertical (for comparison, Levi Brown, a potential first-rounder ran a 1.84 and hopped 25.5 inches) — the two workout stats scouts observe most closely with offensive linemen. Besides, raw small-school offensive tackles are in vogue these days and the Colts tend to go against trends in the draft.

• Unrestricted free agent wide receiver Aaron Moorehead is said to be getting look-sees from both the 49ers and the Vikings. I think Colts fan can give him up for lost at this point, unless he strikes out throughout the league and returns for a minimum. I've never been a huge Moorehead booster, not because I don't think he's a talent, but because he's not really suited to the Colts' offensive needs. Strictly a long-striding outside guy when the Colts desperately needed him to be a slot or motion man, Moorehead didn't show the versatility or toughness required for the job. In four seasons of playing in what's been a historic offense, he caught 23 passes for 265 yards and one score and was passed over for Troy Walters, Bryan Fletcher and Dallas Clark when opportunities to play showed up.

• Keep an eye on the Colts' stock of returners this offseason. T.J. Rushing was drafted to take the job, but couldn't prove he'd hang onto the ball last summer, so the Colts pulled Terrence Wilkins out of hock. Wilkins did okay, but the team seems in no hurry to re-sign him. There really aren't any serious return candidates on the roster — Kenton Keith and DeDe Dorsey don't have much serious experience there and Tanard Davis (and his 4.25 forty) is only hypothetically a football player.

The job is Rushing's to lose (and he'd better win it this time, because he won't make the roster as a defensive back), but he'll get some competition. Wilkins could be back and the Colts will, as always, search the four corners of the Earth for undrafted prospects.

Personally, I'm nuts for Stefan Logan, a 5'6, 175-pound halfback from South Dakota. He's shockingly explosive, has great zip in his cuts and is a threat to take it all the way every time he touches the ball. He went 19-302-1 on punts as a senior and 18-508-1 on kicks (not to mention 236-1707-9 rushing and 14-153-2 receiving). He may never play a snap on offense because of his size, but could be a major weapon on returns.

• Apparently, ex-Colt Edgerrin James has been told he'll be playing lots of snaps with the company of a fullback. That's something he has many times said he really didn't enjoy. It makes sense for the Cardinals, though. Blocking is their weakest point and having a big dude back there to help open holes for James and, more important, protect young star quarterback Matt Leinart from the storm of blitzes he will inevitably see. It will be interesting to see how James — never a malcontent, but neither a company man — reacts.


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