Numbers: 6007/328, 5.05 forty, 2.93 twenty, 1.73 ten, 25 reps, 31.5 vertical, 8'8 long, 4.78 shuttle, 7.95 cone
2006 stats: 11 tackles, 20 assists, 4-14 tackle for loss, 1-5 sack, 2 forced fumbles
The Player: Okay, what's this guy doing here? For years Colts fans have been begging and pleading for a huge, space-eating defensive tackle and Bill Polian has rewarded them with tiny, shoot-the-gap guys instead. Maybe he was serious, but it seemed awfully insulting when he signed 258-pound nose man Brandon Hicks out of Bowling Green in 2003. It was as though Polian was telling the fans to shut up — he was in charge and he'd decide how big or small the defensive linemen would be. And they would be small.
So now here's Echols, who is the very model of a two-gap, blocker-absorbing, stay-at-home nose tackle.
|Quintin Echols at the NFL Combine|
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
But he also brings along the baggage one normally associates with big men. His lateral movement is limited and he has no pass rush moves other than bludgeoning the guy directly in front of him. More important, and perhaps more predictable, though, is that he can get overweight and run out of gas quickly. When he's 'on,' Echols looks like a solid pro, but when he's exhausted, he's just another guy. Too many times I've seen him stumble around, too tired to make a play, and be stood up by some tiny halfback. Many have questioned his work ethic, dedication to conditioning and intensity.
Reminds me of: Aubrayo Franklin, a former Tampa Bay pick who has had a nice career as a fill-in for Baltimore and just signed with the 49ers. He's unlikely to make many memorable plays but is a valuable space and down eater.
How he fits: Maybe Polian isn't playing with us, and he has a plan for Echols. Right now, it's hard to envision too much of a future for Echols in Indy, unless the team will give up a roster spot for a one-dimensional tackle who can play maybe 10 snaps a game and offers little special-teams value. More likely, the Colts are hoping they can light the proverbial fire under him, get him down to maybe 310 pounds and brag about another undrafted coup. Echols has the natural talent and athleticism to succeed in the NFL, but needs to lose the gut. Looking into the crystal ball, I'll admit it's murky, but I see Echols being among the last cuts and getting a chance on the practice squad. While there, he'll have to choose between cheeseburgers and pro success. The fact that he reported to the combine at 328 pounds, effectively eliminating any hopes he had of being drafted, doesn't indicate it'll be easy to motivate. But when he compares his $80,000 a year paycheck to Dwight Freeney's $589,375 a week stipend, maybe he'll see the light.