Colts blog: July 5, 2007

There are still lots of questions at this point: what's the plan if Joseph Addai get hurt? Who'll be running back kicks and punts? If Rob Morris and Tyjuan Hagler are on the strongside, who's backing up the middle? And who, if anyone, is worth a flyer in the upcoming supplemental draft?

Dominic Rhodes was suspended yesterday for violating the league's substance abuse policies. He's out for four games and can't come come back until Oct. 1. And his next violation, if it happens, will net him a one-year ban.

Now, I don't want to denigrate what Rhodes did in Indy, but I'm very glad the Colts didn't get into a bidding war with the Raiders to keep him. He signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract with Oakland in the offseason — that's a lot of money for a guy who's lost his starting job, especially if he'll only play 12 games this year.

• Speaking of halfbacks, while it's clear Joseph Addai has a firm grip on the starting gig, he also has a long and frightening history of injuries. Should he get hurt, the job would fall to Bengals castoff DeDe Dorsey, CFL star Kenton Keith or undrafted Harvard guy Clifton Dawson. The short take: Dorsey is fast and elusive, but slight and inexperienced; Keith's more of a total package, but something of an iffy character with a rep as a fumbler; and Dawson is a strong inside runner who lacks athleticism and speed. Keep an eye on this competition in camp and preseason, it should be very entertaining.

• The other truly exciting competition in camp will be at returner. There are a number of viable contenders. The Colts drafted T.J. Rushing last year to take the job, but he was so impressive, they lifted Terrence Wilkins off the scrap heap and handed him the job. Wilkins is gone, and Rushing is getting a second chance, but he'll have some competition. Much of it will come from Antonio Perkins, who looked like a world beater at Oklahoma, but did next to nothing in two years with the Browns. Other contenders include Devin Aromashodu, who returned a few kicks at Auburn and has home-run speed; DeDe Dorsey, who has the speed and elusiveness but no real experience at the position; and Kenton Keith, who brings both power and speed to the equation. Right now, the favorite is Rushing with a slight edge over Perkins, but that could change in an instant. Keep an eye on Keith, who has almost instantaneous moves in tight spots.

• Colts.com is reporting that the likely opening day starters at corner for the Colts are Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden. I'll go them one better — Peyton Manning will take the majority of snaps behind center.

• They also say that Tyjuan Hagler has been shifted from weakside to strongside linebacker after starting his career at middle linebacker. That shouldn't come as a surprise to Scout.com subscribers since Hagler confirmed the switch back on May 18th during this Scout Radio audio feature. But what makes this interesting is that the starters right now are Rob Morris at Sam, Gary Brackett at Mike and Freddy Keiaho at Will. If you put Hagler at No. 2 Sam, that leaves holdovers Rocky Boiman and Keith O'Neil and fifth-rounder Clint Session as the leading contenders for the other second-string spots. Keep an eye on this Session kid, by the way, he has the look of a future starter, if not star. There are other guys in camp — notably pre-draft media darling KaMichael Hall — but I'll believe what they can bring after I see it. Luckily, if Brackett goes down, the Colts not only have Hagler, but both Morris and Keiaho have played also player Mike in the NFL.

• I'm generally not a huge fan of the supplemental draft — it's usually some desperate team grabbing some troubled young man and then wishing they hadn't. Take a look at all the guys who have ever been picked:

Al Hunter: 1977, 4th round, Seahawks, RB Notre Dame

Johnnie Dirden: 1978, 10th round, Oilers, WR Sam Houston State

Rod Connors: 1978, 12th round, 49ers, RB, USC

Rod Stewart: 1979, 6th round, Bills, RB Kentucky

Matthew Teague: 1980, 7th round, Falcons, DE Prairie View A&M

Billy Mullins: 1980, 9th round, Chargers, WR, USC

Dave Wilson: 1981, 1st round, Saints, QB, Illinois

Chy Davidson: 1981, 11th round, Patriots, WR Rhode Island

Kevin Robinson: 1982, 9th round, Lions, DB, North Carolina A&T

Bernie Kosar: 1985, 1st round, Browns, QB, Miami

Roosevelt Snipes: 1985, 8th round, 49ers, RB Florida State

Charles Crawford: 1986, 7th round, Eagles, RB Oklahoma State

Brian Bosworth: 1987, 1st round, Seahawks, LB, Oklahoma

Cris Carter: 1987, 4th round, Eagles, WR, Ohio State

Dan Sileo: 1987, 3rd round, Buccaneers, DT, Miami

Ryan Bethea: 1988, 5th round, Vikings, WR, South Carolina

Steve Walsh: 1989, 1st, Cowboys, QB, Miami

Timm Rosenbach: 1989, 1st round, Cardinals, QB, Washington State

Bobby Humphrey: 1989, 1st round, Broncos, RB, Alabama

Mike Lowman: 1989, 12th round, Cowboys, RB, Coffeyville JC

Brett Young: 1989 ,8th round, Bills, DB, Oregon

Rob Moore: 1990, 1st round, Jets, WR, Syracuse

Willie Williams: 1990, 9th round, Cardinals, TE, Louisiana State

Dave Brown: 1992, 1st round, Giants, QB, Duke

Darren Mickell: 1992, 2nd round, Chiefs, DE, Florida

Tito Wooten: 1994, 4th round, Giants, DB, Louisiana-Monroe

John Davis: 1994, 5th round, Cowboys, TE, Emporia State

Darren Benson: 1995, 3rd round, Cowboys, DT, Arkansas State

Mike Wahle: 1998, 2nd round, Packers, T, Navy

Jamal Williams: 1998, 2nd round, Chargers, DT, Oklahoma State

J'Juan Cherry: 1999, 4th round, Patriots, DB, Arizona State

Milford Brown: 2002, 6th round, Texans, OL, Florida State

Tony Hollings: 2003, 2nd round, Texans, RB, Georgia Tech

Manuel Wright: 2005, 5th round, Dolphins, DT, USC

Ahmad Brooks: 2006, 3rd round, Bengals, LB, Virginia

Of them, only Bernie Kosar, Cris Carter, Mike Wahle and Jamal Williams were worth it. There were some others who contributed and hung around — notably ex-Colts Steve Walsh and Tito Wooten — but none of them warranted their exalted draft status, and most of the others were outright busts.

While nobody doubts the Colts would appreciate a Wahle or Williams, I'm not sure there's one to be had. This year's supplemental draft will be conducted by conference call on July 12th. Here are the candidates:

Jared Gaither OT, Maryland (6'8/350): This kid has the stuff to be a top NFL left tackle for a decade if he can put the mental part of the game together. That's a big if. While intriguing, Gaither is likely to cost the team that selects him a first-round pick, and the Colts spent their 2008 first-rounder already in a trade that netted them their own future left tackle in Tony Ugoh.

Paul Oliver CB, Georgia (5'11/195): A very similar player to Colts' third-round pick Daymeion Hughes, Oliver times poorly, but has been a productive player at the top level of college competition. He's likely to cost a team a mid-level draft pick (fourth? fifth?), but it almost probably won't be the Colts, who added Hughes and Michael Coe to their roster in April.

Chris Patrick OT, Nebraska (6'5/303): He's no Gaither, but Patrick does have experience at left tackle for a top program. More likely a guard prospect in the pros, Patrick, a former defensive end with a mean streak a mile wide, could be a bargain in exchange for a sixth- or seventh-round pick, but it probably won't be with the suddenly guard-rich Colts.

Robert Armstrong DT, Morgan State (6'4/319): A fat guy with no pass-rush moves, back problems and off-the-field concerns — pass.

Mark Washington DE, Texas State (6'4/255): The kid has a quick first step has never translated skills into production. A published poet with a good future as a writer, his mind might not be on the field. Could be worth a free-agency flyer.


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