Colts Try Out More Linebackers

The Colts held a tryout Friday for two linebacker prospects. Who are they and what could they bring to the table? Find out here with our complete scouting report.

On Friday, Indianapolis brought linebackers Karibi Dede of Auburn and Wade Koehl of Houston in for a tryout.

Koehl was a four year starter at Houston and was named one of the 11 finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy his senior season, an award that focuses on athletic and academic achievements, as well as community involvement. While at Houston, he recorded 330 tackles, 8 sacks, and two interceptions.

Given his size (6'2", 230), lack of top-end speed for a smaller player (4.76 in the 40), and the fact that he played against a lower level of competition, Koehl went undrafted in the 2007 lottery, was signed as a free agent by the New Orleans Saints, and subsequently waived on July 14. He's had various tryouts with other teams since that point, but has been unable to catch on with anyone, even on the practice squad.


Koehl tackles Brandon Marshall in 2005
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Aside from the fact that he bears a striking resemblance to Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli character in the film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," Koehl doesn't bring too much to the table, especially in a scheme such as the Cover 2 variety that Tony Dungy employs. He shined at the collegiate level primarily because he has excellent instincts and was playing against players of similar athletic ability and skill.

At the NFL level, he does not possess the size, speed, or athletic ability to pile up the kinds of numbers he did in college. Koehl had gained a reputation as one of those players that's "always around the ball" during his days in Houston.

But with the speed of the game at this level, particularly at the speed Colts linebackers are expected to operate at, he would always be a step slow or a moment too late.

He may well be able to assist someone on special teams, but Indianapolis has a fairly deep corps of experienced players with more impressive measurables and superior athletic prowess. They would keep him out of the line-up and it's very debatable as to whether or not he'd be able to keep pace with the talented young men on the Colts practice squad.

Given the fact that the linebacking corps for the Saints is suspect at best, it speaks volumes that New Orleans didn't think enough of him to keep him around for training camp. Koehl was a fine college player and is an intelligent young man with a bright future. That future just won't likely include the NFL and especially not the Indianapolis Colts.


Karibi Dede tackles JaMarcus Russell
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Dede, however, is an intriguing prospect that has a great deal of upside, but may not necessarily be ready to suit up and play linebacker just yet. At Auburn's pro day earlier this year, Dede blistered the stopwatches with a 4.41 40 and exceeded expectations in every drill and yardstick that the scouts could bring out, and the Colts showed interest in Dede at that time. Where he failed, though, was when he actually needed to measure up, checking in at 221 pounds and 5'11".

He played both linebacker and safety at Auburn and, with the numbers that he put up at the pro day and the measurables he checked in with, the natural assumption would be that he could be converted to safety -- similar to what the Seattle Seahawks did with Michael Boulware. But since he lacks the coverage skills and acceleration to play the safety position, Dede found himself a man without a position and undrafted in 2007.

A similar fate befell Dede that Juwan Simpson of Alabama struggled with, but Simpson eventually caught on with Green Bay, while Dede was signed as a free agent by the New York Giants. The young hybrid defender eventually fell out of favor with the Giants and New York released him in August.

Though he could be a long shot to make the roster, Indianapolis did sign, train, and bring Cato June up through the ranks. June also played safety in college and was considered by most scouts to be too small to play linebacker at the NFL level.

But someone with Dede's speed and athleticism may be able to find a home on the practice squad for now and the regular roster eventually. With the turnover at the position historically and the injuries that have plagued the linebacking unit for Indianapolis this season, stranger things have happened.

Dede would need to learn Dungy's defense and his responsibilities working as an outside linebacker, most likely on the weak side. He would need to bulk up a little bit, since 221 pounds is on the light side, even for a team that prefers smaller, faster men at the position.

However, the additional weight could be put on in the training room as opposed to the buffet table, since Dede's upper body isn't all that developed — as evidenced by his 17 bench presses at the aforementioned Auburn pro day.

While neither of these men will make an immediate impact on the team — and it's likely the injuries and movement at the linebacker position have ceased for the remainder of the season — but, when you are a team looking to build depth in the practice squad, you go for the player with the most potential and upside. That player, by a wide margin, is Karibi Dede.

View a video of Karibi Dede from BigRedReport.com.


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