Indianapolis brought guards Emmanuel Akah and Harrison Nikolao as well as tackle Chris Pino in for a visit Friday.
Emmanuel Akah after winning the World Bowl with the Frankfurt Galaxy
Akah is a big player at 6 feet, 3 inches, 339 pounds who attended Winston-Salem State University, was signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2006 NFL Draft, spent time in Europe playing for the Rhein Fire and Frankfurt Galaxy of the now defunct NFL Europa, and has bounced between the Dolphins, Chiefs, and Broncos in the past year and a half.
While Akah possesses the size and dimensions that many teams look for in a guard, he lacks the athletic ability, polish, and footwork to be a successful guard on the Colts. He's simply too big, too slow, and too raw of a prospect for Indianapolis to work with. In addition, two teams with offensive line issues (the Chiefs and Dolphins) had Akah on their roster or practice squad and decided to part ways with him. He's also going to turn 29 in February, which probably makes him too old to be considered a "prospect."
Nikolao played collegiate ball at Eastern Washington, where he was named second team All-Big Sky for the 2006 season. He was not drafted after declaring for the 2007 draft and was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent in May. He completed the pre-season and training camp, but was released by Cincinnati on Sept. 1.
Harrison Nikolao in Bengals camp
AP Photo/Al Behrman
Nikolao is a lighter prospect than Akah at 305 pounds and certainly younger. He also ran a 5.07 40 at his Pro Day, which shows that he's at least close to being fast enough to running a flat 5. However, he also registered a time of 4.98 in the short shuttle, which shows that he does not have the kind of nimble feet that the Colts look for in a guard.
That said, he's a considerably more promising prospect than Akah and Indianapolis has, historically, been able to unearth quality players at his position from a number of different sources. With OTAs, a training camp, and some time on the practice squad, he could be a player that would add quality depth to the Colts offensive line for the 2008 season.
Pino is another older prospect that originally declared for the 2006 season after finishing his college career at San Diego State. The Washington Redskins signed Pino as an undrafted free agent in May 2006. He was released before the start of the season, signed to the Redskins' practice squad, then was subsequently released and signed to the Ravens' practice squad.
Chris Pino at Ravens camp
AP Photo/Steve Ruark
He definitely looks the part at 6 feet, 5 inches, 315 pounds, but has essentially disappeared since he went to Baltimore.
Though the Ravens have a franchise left tackle in Jonathan Ogden, it would seem that Pino would have found his way onto the regular roster by some means at some point between September of 2006 and December of this year. But, Indianapolis has also done well so far this season in bringing along young, inexperienced players and making them into serviceable backup tackles.
It's highly unlikely that the Colts will make any moves for the remainder of the season, barring injuries. Therefore, these men were probably brought in to see how they might fit into the team's plans for 2008 and beyond.
With free agency less than three months away it's never too early to take a look at people that aren't going to get the general manager involved in a bidding war.