By now, Colts fans are already somewhat familiar with running back Justin Forsett — claimed off waivers last Thursday — and defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey, signed on Thursday as well.
In order to make room for Forsett, Indianapolis waived receiver Courtney Roby and, of course, Ramsey was a replacement for Ed Johnson, who was waived after an arrest last week. Both of the new additions saw some action in Week 2 against the Vikings.
Justin Forsett at Cal
Otto Greule Jr./Getty
Forsett was originally selected in the seventh round of this year's draft (233rd overall) by the Seattle Seahawks. He was waived on September 9th.
He was a very productive player at Cal, piling up 1,546 yards on 305 carries with 15 touchdowns in his senior season — he was buried in the depth chart behind Marshawn Lynch previous to 2007, although he did rush for 999 yards in his sophomore season of 2005.
Although he shared the backfield with Lynch, his diminutive stature — 5-feet-8, 194 pounds — makes him compare more favorably to former Cal running back J.J. Arrington. Arrington rushed for more yardage and had more upside as a receiver, as well as posting considerably better workout numbers at the combine — for a scatback and return man, Forsett's time of 4.65 seconds in the 40 yard dash was considered very pedestrian — which is why Arrington was chosen in the second round in 2005 and Forsett in the seventh in 2008.
No matter how they got to the NFL, though, the two men will probably have very similar careers at this level. Although Forsett isn't that much smaller than the other backs on the roster, it is very unlikely that he will see much, if any, playing time in the backfield and, since he handled all of the punt return and kickoff return duties in the Vikings game, his contributions will be primarily in the kicking game.
Given the early injuries to Joseph Addai and the fact that Roby was not establishing himself beyond his special teams work, it made more sense to bring on Forsett and add that necessary depth at running back.
The 2008 Draft scouting report on Forsett by Tom Marino echoes all of this with Marino stating, "Very productive little guy that has been durable, but I wouldn't count on that in the pro game. Thin legs and good vision to find the crease. Perfect as a special situation/special teams/third down back."
As a receiver Roby wasn't adding too much to the team, so the fact that Forsett can return both punts and kickoffs and fill in at running back if need be, that makes him a valuable signing for the Colts and well worth the cost of losing Roby.
In Week 2, Forsett returned four kickoffs for 84 yards and two punts for 30 yards — with a long punt return of 25 yards. Although he didn't look overly explosive, he took care of the ball and seems to be the steady presence that the team has been missing since TJ Rushing was placed on injured reserve.
Interestingly enough, Ed Johnson's heir apparent was seemingly already on the roster in the form of Daniel Muir, but Muir has been inactive for both games this season. He is trying to work his way through a knee injury, but the Colts do not seem to be inclined to wait for him. In Ramsey, they signed yet another classic "under" tackle to fill the shoes of the departed Johnson.
LaJuan Ramsey at Southern Cal
Ramsey was a sixth-round pick (204th overall) by the Eagles out of Southern Cal in 2006. He hung on for two seasons with Philadelphia, registering six tackles and an interception in 15 games, but not really distinguishing himself as a playmaker. The Eagles finally cut him loose on June 17th of this year, he was picked up by the 49ers, but subsequently released on August 30th, then signed by the Colts as a free agent on September 11th.
With Johnson gone, Muir injured, Raheem Brock and Keyunta Dawson seeing time at the spot opposite Johnson's old post, and Eric Foster playing better by the week, it looks as though Ramsey has the inside track to be the top backup behind Foster.
Given time and persistence, Ramsey could overtake Foster, considering that he has the ideal build for the position at 6-feet-3 and 300 pounds, and Foster is considerably lighter and slightly shorter, though he has held up fairly well at the point of attack.
At this point, it looks as though Forsett is going to be the more productive of the two players, what with his immediate impact on the team, but Ramsey could be more valuable in the long term, since Johnson isn't coming back and Ramsey is the right fit physically to take Johnson's old job.