Wide receiver Onrea Jones was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 7. Jones played college ball at I-AA Hampton and was one of five players from that school invited to the NFL Combine in February.
However, his collegiate experience came against a lower level of competition, and his lack of a blazing 40-yard dash time (4.42) and modest production at Hampton — for his career, he had only 96 receptions for 1,359 yards and 7 touchdowns — led to Jones going undrafted.
He was signed as a free agent by the San Diego Chargers, released at the 53-man cutdown on Sept. 2, signed by the Packers on Oct. 19, and was almost immediately released again on Oct. 22. Jones was waiting for the phone to ring when the Colts signed him on Nov. 7.
Jones possesses the type of size (5 feet, 11 inches, 202 pounds) that Indianapolis looks for at the position, but is not a very quick player, as evidenced by his times in the 10-yard dash (1.56) and the 20-yard dash (2.65). He is still raw, but has the kind of speed and footwork that could eventually make him successful at the NFL level.
During the entire preseason, he registered only one catch for eight yards, and he's not ready to step into a starting lineup, even in a sub package.
But the Colts have shown the ability to teach players on the taxi squad and mentor them into being serviceable. Jones, though, will need some time and training.
Elgin played center in college, but with his height (6 feet, 4 inches tall), frame, tenacity, and ability to add weight — he graduated Iowa at an undersized 277 pounds — he was moved to guard by the Patriots, and it seems to be a good fit for him.
Elgin has quick hands, good feet, and the kind of nasty disposition that teams look for in a guard. While it's strange to talk about being 277 pounds as though it's a disease, his lack of bulk and lower body strength are the primary reasons why he has not been able to stay on an active roster.
He needs some time in the weight room and at the buffet table, but it's difficult to teach a player to approach the game with kind of zeal and intensity with which Elgin approaches it.
With the injury bug hitting Indianapolis at full force so far this season, they have signed a number of players from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Craphonso Thorpe, Brandon Archer, Victor Worsley, and Michael Toudouze have all heard their names called for promotion.
Both of these prospects will need some time and teaching to make themselves NFL-ready, but the opportunity exists for each of them to suit up for the Colts at some point during the course of this or next season.
That is, provided they are able to stay out of the revolving door of the practice squad.