Scout.com NFL Senior Analyst told ColtPower.com at the NFL Combine that Southern Cal defensive tackle Fili Moala met with the Colts.
Moala appeared in 51 games with 37 starts at defensive tackle in his five seasons with the Trojans — he redshirted as a freshman. For his career, he compiled 90 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, five passes defended, and blocked two kicks.
While he certainly was involved a lot a of big plays during his time there, he also wasn't involved a great deal of plays, total. That speaks more to his ability to anchor against the run and tie up blockers than his inability to get to the ball, as Southern Cal's talented linebackers were the primary beneficiaries of his disruptive ways.
He's currently ranked as the fourth prospect at his position and is the 51st-ranked prospect overall, which would mean that the Colts should select him in the first round if they want to be sure they can secure his services or wait and see if he falls to them when they pick.
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As a matter of fact, Scout.com NFL Draft Expert Chris Steuber has Moala going to the Panthers at 59th overall in his latest mock draft, just two selections before Indianapolis picks at 61st overall.
Steuber has Indianapolis taking Sen'Derrick Marks with Moala, Peria Jerry, Ron Brace and Evander Hood — all players the Colts have spoken with — off the board. With the top six tackles stacked so closely, it could come down to team preference and Moala could be there instead of any of the other five men involved.
This is a strong class for defensive tackles, but it is also top heavy. After those first six gentlemen, Indianapolis would be better suited to wait until later rounds to pick someone up, so if the top six are gone by the time the Colts pick in the second round, they should set their sights on a project with upside, such as Corvey Irvin.
If Moala is available, he has shown the ability to tie up offensive linemen at the line of scrimmage and allow the linebackers to flow to the ball carrier. This is a position that Ed Johnson filled capably in 2007 and that, even as Antonio Johnson started to put things together in 2008 after Ed's release, he never quite put things all the way together.
The one big downside to selecting a player like Moala, though, is that he may not have the explosion (5.10 second time in the 40 at the Combine) and power (25 reps on the bench press) to be the kind of penetrating force that the Colts are looking for in a defensive tackle.
Moala has never been a player that makes his money sacking the quarterback or tackling the ball carrier in the backfield, so the Indianapolis staff will have to reconcile the fact that they are spending a second-round pick on a player that doesn't have all the tools they are looking for.
This could be an issue for them, especially since they have/have had players of similar dimensions — 6-feet-3 and 305 pounds — and skills currently on the roster.
Moala is a good player who will be drafted in the first two rounds and have a long, productive career as a starter with some NFL team. But at that point in the draft, teams are looking for great fits and Moala simply isn't a great fit.
He was arrested in March 2008 for obstruction and resisting, so it is possible that he could fall to the third round due to teams that are afraid of possible character issues, even though all charges were dropped. If that happens, he would certainly be worth a shot and hold considerable value at that point in the draft.
He would have a basement as a solid run stopper for the next 5-10 years and ceiling of possibly developing into a gap penetrating tackle that can make plays in the backfield. In the third round, you take a chance like that, regardless of scheme.
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