Bull Market: Scouting South Florida

The University of South Florida had their Pro Day on March 7 and the Colts were there to get a closer look at the prospects available. There are a couple of intriguing players that would fit well in a Colts uniform. Brad Keller breaks down the Bulls inside!

A prospect that definitely improved his odds of being drafted after his workout is middle linebacker Ben Moffitt.

For most 4-3 teams, Moffitt is undersized at about 6 feet, 1 inch and 234 pounds, but he is actually a shade taller than Gary Brackett (5 feet, 11 inches) and about the same weight (235 pounds).

A number of post-Combine rankings had him being drafted in the late rounds or as a priority free agent, but after he posted a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash at the Pro Day — he was unable to participate in the 40 at the Combine due to an injured hamstring — he has probably placed himself on the radar of teams like the Colts that run the Cover 2 defense.

Tony Dungy's defense requires a speedy middle linebacker that can cover a lot of territory in the middle of the field and run with a tight end or running back in coverage.

Ben Moffitt returns an interception for a touchdown against West Virginia in 2007.
AP Photo/Steve Nesius

Moffitt possesses that kind of speed, so he would be an asset to Indianapolis in their defense, in spite of the fact that he is a smaller prospect and has a reputation of running around blocks and not being stout at the point of attack.

As long as he has the speed and awareness to pursue the ball carrier, that will be good enough for Dungy and defensive coordinator Ron Meeks.

In addition, the middle linebacker has, traditionally, been responsible for taking on the fullback in a standard two-back offense. Since a number of NFL teams are moving away from the fullback position and using more single back sets, it is becoming less important for a middle linebacker to take on and shed blocks.

If Moffitt is still available in rounds 4-6, Bill Polian would be wise to pick him up.

Another of the players that worked out was wide receiver Amarri Jackson.

Jackson is a big target at a shade over 6 feet, 4 inches, but is actually a fairly light 205 pounds.  He ran a 4.61 40 and projects to be more of a possession receiver at the NFL level, provided he gets selected in this year's draft.

Jackson had limited production throughout the course of his career, catching only 70 passes for 891 yards during his three seasons with the Bulls. The fact that he's a little too lean to take advantage of his tall frame, and that he missed five games last season because of a knee injury, means he probably doesn't have enough upside to get picked in April.

Amarri Jackson
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

However, as a priority free agent and after some time on the practice squad and in the weight room, he has the potential to be a very effective player.

He's taller than the Colts prefer at the position, but he certainly has a high enough ceiling for Indianapolis to sign him if he goes undrafted.

Cornerback Trae Williams is trying to escape the long shadow of his more talented teammate, Mike Jenkins.

Jenkins also worked out for scouts on March 7, but is a first-round prospect that will be long gone by the time the Colts make their first selection.

Williams improved on his Combine time of 4.53 seconds in the 40 by running another 4.53 as well as a 4.48.

Still, on film and according to the stopwatch, he appears to lack the top-end speed that most teams require at the position.  He does, however, compare very favorably to Marlin Jackson, as Jackson ran similar times and had similar doubts cast on him heading into the 2005 draft.

But, Marlin was far more productive in college, is three inches taller than Williams, and is much more effective, capable, and willing in run support.

This is why Williams will probably be around late in the draft for a team willing to take a chance on a small player that isn't as physical as most teams — particularly the Colts — would like.  The thinking here is that Indianapolis should take him in the sixth round or later, have him contribute in special teams and in sub packages, show him the way to the weight room, and possibly have him fill the free safety role should anything happen to Antoine Bethea or Matt Giordano through free agency or otherwise.

He has plenty of speed to play safety for the Colts, has good ball skills and more than enough awareness and closing speed to play center field if necessary.

Defensive tackle Richard Clebert was also present and worked out at the Pro Day, but has the build (6 feet, 2 inches, 312 pounds) and mentality to play nose tackle in the 3-4 defense.  As such, he wouldn't be a good fit in the Colts system and probably won't attract any further attention from the team.

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