The Colts signed San Jose State quarterback Adam Tafralis to a free agent contract earlier this week.
Tafralis had an excellent senior season for the Spartans, but was a long shot to be drafted, as he was ranked as the 36th-best prospect in the country by Scout.com coming into the draft.
Scout.com expert Tom Marino said that Tafralis "has a strong arm, but is slow-footed and lacks mobility in the pocket. More of a thrower than a true passer. Has tunnel vision and throws a lot of interceptions."
While that's far from a ringing endorsement, it's not exactly a kiss of death, either. Plenty of successful quarterbacks have been able to get by with a strong arm and slow feet — players like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. And Brett Favre was a thrower, not a pure passer, and had tunnel vision, and he had a pretty nice career.
Adam Tafralis throws vs. Utah State
But let's not get carried away — Tafralis is no Manning, Brady or Favre, and will come to Indianapolis just hoping to make it through the summer and possibly displace backup Jim Sorgi or practice squad QB Josh Betts.
A three-year starter at San Jose State, Tafralis had an impressive senior season, connecting on 63 percent of his passes for 3,022 yards and 18 touchdowns. He did throw 11 interceptions, but also broke Jeff Garcia's school record for total offense.
At 6 feet, 1 inch and 221 pounds, Tafralis has a solid frame, and there's speculation he could play tight end in the NFL as well.
"He's a tough kid," team president Bill Plian told Colts.com. "He's extremely competitive. He's a good runner. He even has played some special teams in his career. He was an H-back at one point. He's a guy with the right pedigree in terms of really liking football and being a position he'll do anything to play the game. Those are the kinds of people we like."
That comment seems to indicate that the Colts could be willing to take a look at Tafralis in a different role, perhaps as a special-teams player or as an H-back.
Perhaps that's why the Colts decided to sign Tafralis as opposed to two of the other quarterbacks ColtPower.com reported the team was interested in — Nebraska's Sam Keller and Columbia's Craig Hormann.
ColtPower's Brad Keller recommended the Colts sign Keller over Hormann, but the team ended up going with Tafralis over both players.
Keller plans to go to camp with Tampa Bay, while Hormann, who grew up in Indianapolis and interned for the Colts in 2005, hooked on with Cleveland.
Ultimately, it may be Tafralis' willingness to do whatever it takes — whether as a quarterback, special-teams ace, a hybrid tight end or even a versatile practice squad player — that made the Colts take a chance on him.
After all, with no pressing need at the quarterback position — Peyton Manning has never missed a game, and the team seems to have unflagging faith in Sorgi — the Colts can take a chace on Tafralis as a football player first and foremost. If they end up with a quarterback in the process, so much the better.