Undrafted DT Joins Cutthroat Battle

The Colts got deeper up the middle with this undrafted prospect, but is he the young defensive tackle they've been waiting for? Brad Keller gives a scouting report and analyzes his chances of making the team inside!

Kent State defensive tackle Colin Ferrell graduated as a fifth-year senior that started at nose tackle in his team's defensive scheme for the last three seasons and 41 games of his career.

Although he played well in his first two campaigns, tallying 16 tackles for loss and a couple of sacks, his final year as a Golden Flash is the one that stood out statistically.

In 2007, Ferrell compiled 55 tackles — an excellent number for a player at his position — 12 tackles for loss and five sacks.

The five sacks are the most impressive, since the nose tackle in that scheme is responsible for tying up blockers at the point of attack and clearing the way for other members of the defense — usually the linebackers — to make plays on the ball carrier.

Of course, the 12 tackles for loss are nothing to sneeze at, either, but the five sacks definitely stand out.

Colin Ferrell (55) tackles Ohio State running back Chris Wells in a 2007 game
AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

The issue with Farrell, though, is that just over six feet tall and tipping the scales at only 295 pounds, he's too small to play the nose tackle at the NFL level. He was also only able to put up 23 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press, which shows a lack of ideal upper body strength for a player at that position.

Even though he registered very impressive numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.86) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.60), his size and strength limitations led to him going undrafted.  Farrell also was not invited to the Combine, which could not have helped his draft stock.

He did not, however, have to wait very long after the conclusion of the draft to find out where he would be attending a rookie minicamp, as the Colts called him shortly after Mr. Irrelevant was taken and signed him as a free agent.

He joins fellow 2008 free agent Eric Foster in a very crowded tackle rotation that includes Ed Johnson, Darrell Reid, Joe Bradley, Raheem Brock, Quinn Pitcock, and Keyunta Dawson.

Bradley, Reid, and Johnson were all signed as undrafted free agents as well, which shows the propensity of Indianapolis to award the roster spot to the most qualified individual, not necessarily the one that had the highest draft position.

Although the playing field is level and Ferrell has the same chance as anyone in camp of making the regular roster, the odds are certainly stacked against him in that there are eight people vying for five jobs at tackle, six at the absolute most.

In a previous article, ColtPower detailed Eric Foster's chances of making a roster and, in all honesty, they are slim at best.

Unlike Ferrell, Foster does not have to learn a new position, since he played defensive tackle in the 4-3 scheme in college and seems just as adept at getting to the quarterback, with six sacks of his own in 2007.

Both men have the explosive first step and pass rushing skills that the Colts look for in a defensive tackle.  Both are about the right height, though the Indianapolis coaches tend to lean towards taller players on the inside.

Both have an equal chance to make the roster and both appear to be on the outside looking in.  But, one thing to bear in mind is that Pitcock and Dawson were both taken ahead of Johnson in last year's draft — in that they were taken at all — but both lost out to Johnson when it was time to name Anthony McFarland's replacement.

Essentially, it boils down to three undrafted players — Bradley, Eric Foster, and Ferrell — battling it out for one spot.  May the best man win.

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