Colts Try Out New Defenders

Indianapolis brought in a pair of rookie defenders for a tryout Friday. Find out who they are and why the Colts are interested in this Insider feature.

Friday, the Colts brought three players in for a tryout. We already have a scouting report on defensive end Justin Hickman, but here's information on the other two gentlemen Indianapolis brought in for a visit.

Patrick Ghee
AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Safety Patrick Ghee was a three-year starter at Wake Forest, totaling 133 tackles, five passes defended, and one interception in his time with the Demon Deacons. He went undrafted in 2007, eventually signing with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent.

He was released on Aug. 29 by Seattle and has been trying out with various teams throughout the NFL since.

Although he possesses the ideal size (6 feet 2 inches, 211 pounds) and speed (4.52 in the 40) for the position, the primary reason that seven rounds passed in April without Ghee hearing his name called is that, as a three-year starter, he was very seldom around the ball and authored only one big play in his three years as a starting safety for Wake Forest.

Some players have the instincts and hustle to make their way to the ballcarrier. While they may not have the physical tools and size of Ghee, they are far more effective.

Though Bob Sanders is significantly shorter, smaller, and somewhat slower than Ghee, he has that knack for finding the ball and making the big play, while Ghee does not.

A talented staff such as the one that Indianapolis employs can show a player to the weight room, have them do conditioning exercises, teach them their role in schemes which put them in position to make a play, but no staff is talented enough to make the plays for the players.

Seattle may have seen this on film and the practice field, which is why they decided not to sign a player of Ghee's obvious physical assets and upside to the regular roster, or even the practice squad.

Dedrick Harrington
AP Photo/L.G. Patterson

The other player brought in for a look was middle linebacker Dedrick Harrington out of Missouri. A two-year starter for the Tigers, Harrington was voted team captain and second-team All Big 12 for the 2006 season.

Despite his size (6 feet 3 inches, 245 pounds), speed (4.68) and track record, Harrington went undrafted in 2007 and was soon picked up by the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent.

Scouts feel that Harrington does not play as fast as his stopwatch speed and tends to shy away from contact, which are two knocks on a middle linebacker that amount to a death sentence.

Since contact is also an important part of being a mack or buck linebacker in the 3-4 scheme that Dallas uses, he was obviously not a fit there.

While he might be too big and slow to play any of the linebacker positions for the Colts — he also has not played either of the outside linebacker positions and lacks that flexibility — he may be an intriguing practice squad player for Indianapolis to sign, given that he has plenty of eligibility and the fact that the Colts linebackers have had trouble staying healthy. He can be taught to take on the lead blocker, catch-and-release, and pursue the ball carrier.

Techniques such as those can be learned by and ingrained in a player, as evidenced particularly by the success that the Kansas City staff has had with Derrick Johnson.

With all this information in mind, Harrington would be worth a shot in the hopes that he can slim down a little, speed up a little more, and be trained to not shy away from contact. But no staff, no matter how creative, talented, or patient, will be able to teach Ghee the instincts and intangibles required to get to the ball.

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