Inside the ColtPower War Room: Round 4

Teams typically find their starters and stars in the first three rounds. But, the Colts have had a great deal of success in rounds 4-7 in the Bill Polian era. Who might be available and how can they help? Brad Keller analyzes the Colts targets and finds the answers inside.

At this point in the draft — at least according to the big board at ColtPower.com — Indianapolis has chosen Toledo's John Greco to build depth along the offensive line and wide receiver Harry Douglas to help ease the burden in the post-Marvin Harrison era.

For the rest of the draft, they still need to find a tight end, a defensive tackle, a defensive end to add depth, a linebacker, and a cornerback to fortify what was a weak coverage team in the kicking game in 2007.


Missouri's Martin Rucker
AP Photo/L.G. Patterson

Tight End:

Due to a poor offseason and questions regarding his ability to shine at the NFL level, both as a receiver to stretch the field and as a blocker, Missouri's Martin Rucker has fallen from a second-round lock to someone that still may be available at this point.

The Colts showed interest in Rucker at the Senior Bowl, but that was before he suffered a minor injury that kept him from working out at the Scouting Combine and may have affected him at his Pro Day in March.

He could go anywhere from the second to the fifth round.  If he's available when Indianapolis chooses in the fourth, they will have a decision to make: Production versus potential.

No one can argue with what Rucker accomplished in college, but many have questions about his ability to come close to that production at the next level.

Another potential target at this point would be Kentucky's Jacob Tamme.  His stats at the collegiate level and his ability to stretch the seam with his 4.58 speed are not in question, but scouts wonder if, at 236 pounds, he will able to play the position and be an effective blocker at the NFL level.

Indianapolis has shown the willingness to press undersized players into service and, if they are able to motion him out into space to give him a clean release, he would be a good compliment to Dallas Clark in the middle of the field.

However, given the doubts surrounding Tamme, he may be available later in the draft, adding value to the pick.

Linebacker:

South Florida's Ben Moffitt, at 6 feet, 1 inch, and 234 pounds, is taller and about the same weight as current Mike linebacker Gary Brackett.

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.

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 bad 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.

Defensive Tackle:

All eyes turn, once again, to the talent, but troubled and injury history addled Marcus Harrison.

Teams may stay away from him because of character issues and the fact that he injured his ACL in his left knee last spring, but no one can ignore his potential, particularly in a gap attacking scheme like the Cover 2.

Can the Colts continue to ignore him if he is still available?

Defensive End:

Availability and need may converge at this point in the draft with Georgia's Marcus Howard.


Georgia's Marcus Howard levels Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan in the Sugar Bowl
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

He has been described as a Robert Mathis clone — Mathis was chosen in the fifth round in 2003.

He has a similar build (6 feet, 2 inches, 235 pounds, with the frame to add more weight), has the same explosive first step, and is a quick-twitch athlete that makes solid contact and tries to push the ball through whoever he is trying to bring down.

He will also probably have a similar start to his career as a Colt, since he will probably only play on special teams and in nickel and dime packages early on.  He projects as a late fourth, early fifth-round prospect, so if Indianapolis selects him and gets half as much production out of him as they've gotten out of Mathis, it will be an excellent pick.

They need depth and, since they know what an undersized but sudden player like Mathis is capable of accomplishing with the proper coaching, he's well worth a shot at this point in the draft.

With the 127th Selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts Select:

Marcus Howard, defensive end, Georgia.  The potential for him to add to the pass rush in nickel and dime situations, as well as some questions regarding anyone's ability to recover from a Lisfranc injury, nonetheless Dwight Freeney, make this both a value pick and a need pick. 

Additionally, the Colts' pass rush suffered after Freeney was placed on injured reserve last season and Josh Thomas was inserted into the lineup.

Thomas is not the long-term solution at that position and Bill Polian knows it.  Ever the man to address future needs through a current draft, Howard will be difficult for the Colts president to pass up at this stage of the draft.


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