Indianapolis officials met with Boston College tackle Gosder Cherilus at last month's Combine, watched him work out, and took note of his scores in the 40-yard dash — he was one of the top 10 performers as his position, running a 5.21 — as well as the battery of personality and intelligence tests that are taken during the player's time in the RCA Dome, including the Wonderlic Test.
However, the Colts were not the only teams to show interest in him and meet with him face to face, as he met with about 20 or 22 teams, including division rivals Jacksonville and Houston.
Cherilus is a huge prospect, measuring in at nearly 6 feet, 7 inches and 314 pounds. While those are prototypical numbers for a left tackle at the NFL level — consensus top five pick Jake Long of Michigan had similar measurements — Gosder's stock will likely be affected by the fact that he played only one season at left tackle and lined up on the right side for the other three seasons of his career at Boston College.
When he was moved to the left side for his senior season, his performance suffered and his technique flaws were exposed, as he committed seven penalties and allowed 5 1/2 sacks throughout the course of the 2007 season.Although he was becoming accustomed to a new position and was facing off against the opposing team's best pass rusher, Boston College coaches also did not do Cherilus any favors in their play calling, with 659 pass play calls last season. He still struggled greatly protecting Matt Ryan's blind side and his overall rating will drop since right tackles are not as sought-after as left tackles.
Gosder Cherilus at the Combine
AP Photo/Michael Conroy
For his part, he does not seem to have a preference as to what side he lines up on: "At the end of the day, each team needs a right tackle and a left tackle. I feel like I can play either," he said at the Combine. "I played three years at right and one at left, and I was very successful at either. I've played right my whole life and if that's where they want me, that's what I'll do. If it's left, and that's what teams need, that's where I'll go."
But all signs point to him playing on the right side, and his profile and skill set are strikingly familiar to current starter Ryan Diem. Both men are about the same size, both are more accomplished and tenacious in the running game than in pass protection — it would be correct to refer to either man as a mauler — both have powerful upper bodies and stiff hips, such that they attack the line of scrimmage well, but have difficulty backpedalling and setting their feet against quicker, smaller defensive ends.
And, by value of association, both men are good fits to play the right tackle position for the Indianapolis Colts.
In addition to fitting the mold from a physical standpoint, left tackles are often technicians that pride themselves on footwork and technique. In order to play left tackle and play it well at this level, a player needs to have a disciplined, analytical mentality.
On the right side of the line, coaches are looking for skilled players with sound footwork, no doubt, but they are also looking for players that possess a mean streak and a more physical nature — someone who plays with a little vinegar and nastiness on the field.
Cherilus seems to fill that role as well: "What I tell people many times is that football is what I do but it's not who I am. Once you step on the field, it's business. Just coming from where I come from, Boston College, for some reason I always felt people looked at us different. These guys, they're big, they're athletic, they're this, they're that. But at the end of the day, football is football. When you step on the field, you go at it. I have fun doing it. I'm not dirty. I do everything within the whistle. I've never had a personal foul. But if I have a chance to really go at a guy and punish him, I will, because that's what the game is all about. That's what the fans want to see and that's what I feel like I should be doing because that's my job to do it. That's what I do."
The issue, though, is that several teams — 20 or 22 to be exact — have also put the pieces together and realize that Gosder projects to be a starter for a long time at right tackle for the NFL team intelligent enough to draft him.
And, as the eighth-rated player at his position and the 53rd-rated player overall, it is unlikely that he will be waiting for Indianapolis when they make their first selection towards the end of the second round.
But, at this point, there are not seven teams that need an offensive tackle badly enough to take one in the first two rounds. So there is a decent chance that Cherilus will still be available and would be one of the highest ranked players on the Colts board.
Indianapolis does have needs at other positions — most notably at guard, defensive end, and tight end — but they are also in the enviable position of being able to select the best player available when the clock starts for them on April 26th.
At that point, taking their board into consideration, Cherilus would make a great deal of sense.