Colts Think Offense With Comp Picks

With their three compensatory selections in the 2008 Draft, the Indianapolis Colts took two fairly well-known players from well-known schools, so they saved the most obscure for last.

First Compensatory Selection, 201st overall: Steve Justice, Center, Wake Forest:

When Mike Pollak was selected in the second round, everyone assumed that he would be the heir apparent to current starter Jeff Saturday.

Steve Justice may have a few things to say about that before everything is said and done.

While Pollak was the highest rated center according to and Justice was the third-rated player at the position, both project well to suiting up and playing on Sundays.

Justice has a pre-existing medical condition that made it necessary for his parents to sign a waiver in order for him to be allowed to suit up and play at Wake Forest.

However, the condition does not seem to have slowed him down at all or kept him from contributing through out the course of his collegiate career.

Veteran scout Tom Marino says that Justice has "good athletic ability, experience, intelligence, and toughness.  He is a solid football player who could turn into a steady professional." 

Although he is a little light to play at the NFL level, tipping the scales at only 290 pounds and struggled against bigger men up the middle — of which there is no shortage in the AFC South — some time in the weight room and working with the Colts talented coaching staff should get him ramped up fairly quickly.

Second Compensatory Selection, 202nd overall: Mike Hart, Running Back, Michigan:

Michigan's Mike Hart
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Hart was an extraordinarily productive and dependable starter for the Wolverines throughout his career in Ann Arbor, appearing 43 games with 1,015 rushes for 5,040 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Those numbers are impressive against any level of competition, nonetheless the Big 10, where everyone seems to be focused on running the ball and stopping the run year to year.

A number of teams, though, were hesitant to pull the trigger on Hart, based on his pedestrian 40 time of 4.76.  Bill Polian was not scared away and was pleased when Hart was available towards the end of Round 6.

"I think the 40 time scared a lot of people away,"  Polian said on the NFL Network shortly after the selection.  "But in the end we had such respect for his playing ability and his measurables ... and the lack of fumbles, durability, and work ethic.  So we said forget about the 40, and we had a back here that unfortunately had his career cut short by a knee injury named James Mungro and he was very, very similar to Hart."

Third Compensatory Selection, 205th overall: Pierre Garcon, Wide Receiver, Mount Union:

With all the attention being paid to Division III player Justin Beaver, much of the focus was being taken away from the man he beat in the Division III championship game — Mount Union's Pierre Garcon.

According to Marino, Garcon is, "a very impressive athlete that dominated his level of competition.  But he was also very effective when he lined up against the big boys in all-star games.  He needs a good deal of positional work from a coaching standpoint, but he has the potential to be a very successful NFL player if he works hard."

He will certainly be a much-needed contributor on the special teams coverage unit with his size — 6 feet and 210 pounds — and 4.44 speed.  His production level — 60 touchdown receptions and an 18-yard per reception average at Mount Union — is very similar to Jerry Rice's.

He may not be a big name from a big school, but he could certainly end up paying big dividends for the Colts down the line with some practice and coaching.

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