Colts Blog: April 3, 2007

Gilbert Gardner struck out last season on the strongside, so the Colts are said to be giving him a chance on the weakside. While there's a slim chance that idea could fly, where does it leave Rob Morris and Freddie Keiaho? Those guys deserve to start, but does Gardner?

So the grand master plan at linebacker, according to the Star, is to start Gilbert Gardner on the weakside, Gary Brackett in the middle and Freddie Keiaho on the strongside. Brackett I can agree with, but the other two, I'm not as sure.

Gardner lost his strongside job last season to erstwhile middle man Rob Morris. While he certainly deserved to be benched, the problems he had probably won't be solved by switching sides. Taking him away from the tight end isn't going to teach him how to tackle in the open field, so I'm not sure a position switch is what he needs.

Likewise, while Keiaho has a great shot at being a very good starting linebacker in the NFL, I'm not sure his 5'11 1/2, 224-pound frame will be suited to taking on the 250-pound tight ends and 325-pound right tackles he'll see play-in and play-out.

I've got a better idea. How about letting Gardner and Keiaho battle it out for the weakside spot and draft a strongside prospect like Stewart Bradley to take over if and when Morris hits the wall.

• I looked at Scout's free-agency visit list. I don't know if it's Bill Polian's famous shroud of secrecy or the lack of salary-cap room, but the Colts were the only team with a grand total of zero.

• The more I think about the signing of prodigal guard Rick DeMulling, the more I like it. Dude can play any of the interior three positions with aplomb and couldn't have cost much after his abysmal performance with the Lions, even though it probably wasn't his fault.

• One player the Colts have had in for an interview really fits their profile. Texas defensive end Tim Crowder explodes off the snap and knows how to get to the passer or ballcarrier and force a fumble when he gets there. He's a big (6035/272) and fast (4.69) end who could well end up a starter in the NFL, especially if he can get his head more into the game and stop falling for play action and other fakes. I could see him eventually taking over at left end for the Colts, allowing the team a great deal of flexibility.

• The other major visitor this week was wide receiver Mike Walker. The Central Florida product was considered a hidden gem until the combine. The word on him was that he was smart, productive and fearless, but that he lacked athleticism. That was until he ran a 4.35 forty, jumped 36.5 inches, hoisted the iron 18 times and blew away the cone and shuttle. So now he's seen as an excellent athlete with all the qualities of a potentially accomplished NFL wide receiver.

While he is, as Ed pointed out, something of a long-strider not ideally suited to the slot (where the Colts have a major and immediate need), he may have enough skill and maturity to be a legitimate heir to Marvin Harrison. Guys like that don't show up every draft.

• The Colts also attended the workout of Howard corner Geoff Pope. He's a size/speed projection who can run like the wind, and Howard defensive backs have had some recent NFL success, but I can't see him being selected by the Colts because he's a non-factor against the run.

• Safety Antoine Bethea received a much-deserved check for $259.249 from the NFL to make up for the fact that his performance in 2006 far outstripped what he signed for. While I can't understand why anyone would begrudge this hard-working and talented player his money, I can't understand why the league sent Jim Sorgi a check for $189. Did the clipboard get heavier or something?


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