Indianapolis had a brief conversation with Texas A&M's Cody Wallace during Senior Bowl week.
Wallace is a center by trade and started at that position for the Aggies the past three seasons. However, after his performances in practices leading up to the game and the actual game on Saturday, he may looking at a position change in the very near future.
At 302 pounds, he possesses the type of bulk that most teams look for at the center position, but at 6 feet, 4 inches, he's actually too gangly and thin to play it at the NFL level. One of the knocks on Wallace in practices last week was that he was often overpowered by bigger, stronger defensive tackles and isn't quite stout or powerful enough to anchor at the point of attack.
In a division that features Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee, Marcus Stroud and John Henderson in Jacksonville, and the emerging talents of Travis Johnson and Amobi Okoye in Houston, the last thing the Colts need at the hub is someone that is too weak to match up against the big men across the line.
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And, one would assume that a player that started 35 games for A&M would make up for any deficiencies in strength and power by compensating with speed. This was not the case in most practices and, most specifically and importantly, on game day, when Wallace was consistently and badly beaten off the ball by Southern Cal's Sedrick Ellis.
While many players found themselves on the wrong end of a one-on-one battle with Ellis last week, Wallace also struggled against lesser competition and seemed to only be able to latch on to larger, slower defensive tackles — and those men subsequently overwhelmed him and either pushed him far into the backfield or knocked him over altogether.
Wallace was the second-rated prospect at his position and the 126th-rated player overall entering last week. He will most likely fall in both slots and may not be able to recover the momentum he had heading into Senior Bowl week.
It will most likely take a few things for him to still be considered second-day material in the NFL Draft: Those things are all related to how he performs at the Combine and his Pro Day.
At the Combine, he needs to show up about 15 pounds heavier, with the bulk of that additional weight being muscle mass in his upper body. He will also need to perform well in the 40-yard dash — right around five seconds flat, if not faster — and the short shuttle, with a time in the 4.6s being exceptional.
A strong showing in the 225-pound bench press will be a necessity for him as well. He may have turned a number of scouts off his trail last week, but, with a lack of depth and quality at the position and a number of teams in need of a center, he can redeem himself and make himself a great deal of money at the Combine.
If he does not perform well in Indianapolis and has another poor showing at the Aggies Pro Day, there is still hope for him on the Colts roster. Given the fact that Indianapolis has both starting guards eligible for unrestricted free agency and that both current starters were not high picks — Ryan Lilja was undrafted and Jake Scott was taken in the 5th round of the 2004 draft — the Colts may want to take a chance on Wallace at guard instead.
He has the kind of lean frame and quick feet that they look for at the position and, if he can add a little bulk, get a little stronger in the offseason, and work on his technique, he may actually fit well into their scheme; if not as a starter, as a strong reserve.
As a guard, he won't have as many pre-snap responsibilities and will not need to worry about his greatest weakness — since his lower body is not very well developed and he doesn't have quick hands and instincts, it is difficult for him to snap the ball, then anchor against an on-rushing defender — affecting his game. He will simply need to worry about getting stronger, reacting to the snap, and protecting the pocket.
It's obviously too early to tell, but Wallace could end up being a very attractive option for the Colts in the later rounds or possibly as an undrafted free agent.