Versatile OL Could Provide Immediate Help

Indianapolis has shown strong interest in an under-the-radar offensive lineman whose versatility nearly matches his athletic ability. Brad Keller has the details.

Toledo offensive tackle John Greco started his career on the right side of the line, but moved over to the left side when current Patriots tackle Nick Kaczur graduated.

He has played on the left side ever since and has excellent size at 6 feet, 4 and 3/4 inches and 305 pounds to play the position for the Colts at the next level.

While he may be a bit light by NFL standards, he is an extraordinarily powerful young man and has the frame to add enough weight so that he can hold his own on Sundays.

In addition, he is an excellent athlete with good feet that improved on his Combine 40 time of 5.29, posting a 5.16, as well as a stunning 4.63 time in the short shuttle at his Pro Day on February 28.

He had a formal interview with the Colts in February and Indianapolis was in attendance for his Pro Day workout as well.

To this point, since he played against a lower level of competition at Toledo, he is flying under the radar of most teams and currently projects as a second- or third-round prospect, based primarily on potential.


John Greco
Photo: Toledo Athletics

Having played both tackle positions, he certainly could learn either one for the team that drafts him, but a concern for scouts is that, even though he has shown more than enough on film in terms of pass protection ability, knee bend, striking power, and sound technique setting and kicking out, he lacks ideal arm length and wing span to be the blindside protector for Peyton Manning.

At the NFL level, pass rushers are faster and more agile than they are at the collegiate level, so a left tackle — who normally draws the opposing team's best defensive lineman — would ideally have all the of athletic ability and technical aptitude that Greco possesses as well as a wide frame to block out the defender and long arms to push him out of the way, if necessary.

Because he has a narrower frame and shorter arms than most left tackles, the possibility exists that he will be moved inside when he is drafted.

Such a move would seem to work out well for Indianapolis, though, since they have a need at guard — either if Dylan Gandy is not the answer as Jake Scott's replacement, or to add depth if Gandy is — and they seem to have found their men at tackle with Tony Ugoh and Ryan Diem.

Diem's contract may prove to be prohibitive in the future, but the Colts have Charlie Johnson as his heir apparent and, frankly, Greco possesses neither the raw size nor the mauler's mentality that is required of the right tackle position.

All of this leaves Indianapolis with the option of drafting a very versatile, but not immediately usable player with their first selection at No. 59.

But, even though there is not an obvious need that Greco would fill at this point, Gandy is a restricted free agent this season and will most likely be unrestricted after 2008.

Additionally, Ugoh did miss a few games last season and Johnson was clearly outmatched and out of his element filling in for Ugoh on the left side.

That gives the Colts the flexibility to work with Greco during his first season with the team, finding the right position for him along the line, and giving them some much-needed quality depth in the short term and a possible starter for the next ten years in the long term.

Given their obvious interest and the fact that no player can stay a secret for long in today's NFL, it would not be surprising if Greco was the highest-rated player on the board when Indianapolis is finally on the clock.

And it would not be surprising to see Bill Polian make another intelligent selection, even if it's not a sexy pick, with an eye towards the future.


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