Colts Prospect: LB Clint Session

The Colts waited until the 136th pick of the draft and their own sixth pick before they pulled the trigger on a linebacker. The one they got is an undersized tackling machine whose game could use some refinement. But boy can this kid hit.

Clint Session LB Pittsburgh

Numbers: 5111/236, 4.57 forty, 2.62 twenty, 1.56 ten, 36 reps, 30.5 vertical, 9'6 long, 4.15 shuttle

2006 stats: 67 tackles, 34 assists, 12-33 tackle for loss, 1-7 sack, 1-78-1 interceptions, 1 pass deflection, 5 forced fumbles, 1-0-0 fumble recovery

The Player: Dude forced five fumbles. Really. In his senior year, Session forced five fumbles — and none of them were cheap. You look at the stat line and it jumps out at you like a boxer who has KOs for all his wins. And, this time, statistics don't lie. Sessions really does hit like a wrecking ball, and is adept at separating ball from ballcarrier. He's the kind of guy cameramen follow around, hoping for that night's highlight video. It's a quality that's very easy to like in a linebacker.

I first noticed Session in 2004 when he started in the middle for Pitt. Undersized but frenetically active, he was all over the field laying hit after hit. There were faults in his game, especially in coverage and when taking on blocker, but that was to be expected in a sophomore. I expected him to progress as a junior, but difficulty adapting to a move outside and a series of injuries led him to appear in just eight games, none of them starts. He came back as a senior on the strong-side, started every contest and put up some impressive numbers.

First the good news. Sessions is quick, agile and has the instincts of a jungle cat. He flies around much faster than his forty time would indicate and makes ballcarriers suffer when he gets to them. He uses his hands well and is good at side-stepping blockers. He's explosive off the snap and takes excellent angles to the ball. Session is a smart kid who keep his head in the game, fires up his teammates and is in love with football.

There are some negatives to report, though. Not surprisingly, his quest for the perfect hit leads him to gamble and he'll miss the odd tackle.

Although he has the tools to succeed in coverage, he hasn't put them all together yet and can be beaten if he doesn't get check-off help. He is progressing in this area and, however, should continue to improve.

He doesn't have natural hands for interceptions, but if he does come down with the ball, he's a legitimate threat to bring it all the way back.

The biggest problem is that he's small. I know a lot of fans these days read right over that thinking "small? Just throw him in a Cover-2, he'll be fine." But while that is true is essence, Session plays smaller than he is by consistently failing to get his shoulders down low. If a big, determined blocker gets his hands on him, Session can be ridden out of the play.

Still, dude had five forced fumbles.

Reminds me of: Demorrio Williams, a fourth-round pick by the Falcons in 2004, who has been a good, but not outstanding player in the NFL.

How he fits: The Bill Polian-led Colts have a long history of drafting unheralded linebackers, giving them some time to become acclimatized to the system, then expecting them to produce. Sometimes it works (Marcus Washington, David Thornton. Cato June) and sometimes it doesn't (Kendyll Pope, Keyon Whiteside, Antony Jordan). And the jury is still out on the latest crop (Gilbert Gardner, Freddie Keiaho and Tyjuan Hagler).

Session will be thrown into the mix just like all the others. He'll be expected to take a back-up role for his first season or two, playing on defense just sparingly but showing his wares on special teams. And, if he shows good ability to understand and produce what the team expects from him, they may ask him to compete for a starting spot when free agency forces one open.

Session has all of the qualities the team is looking for at linebacker — speed, instincts, intelligence, fluidity, leadership and fearlessness — and his handicaps are things that have the potential to be coached away or schemed around.

It's unlikely Session will be a total bust unless injuries derail his career. But it's also no sure thing that he'll ever emerge as a reliable starter. He could just as likely turn out to be a guy who can back up all three spots (having played all of them at Pitt), and contributes on specials teams. Would that be so bad?

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