Scout.com NFL Analyst Adam Caplan has confirmed that the Colts have signed Louisville defensive tackle Adrian Grady as an undrafted free agent.
He appeared in 36 games for the Cardinals, with the high points being his freshman year (12 games) and his senior campaign (11 games), but struggled to stay healthy and stay in the lineup.
It was during his senior year that he could have assuaged fears that scouts had about his ability to stay off the injury report and be the kind of inside force that everyone suspected he could be.
He showed flashes of that ability in 2008 for Louisville, finishing with 41 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and three quarterback pressures. He also returned a fumble recovery 19 yards for a touchdown against Tennessee Tech.
Grady was invited to the Combine and participated in all workouts and drills. He didn't exactly blister the stopwatch, posting a time of 5.23 seconds in the 40-yard dash, but he did show that he had more upper body strength than expected with 31 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
With plenty of talent available at the defensive tackle position — including fourth-round pick Terrance Taylor — teams still felt that Grady didn't have enough experience at the collegiate level, and was not impressive enough in postseason workouts, so he went undrafted.
Although many NFL teams felt that he was too small to take a chance on at 6-feet-1 and 298 pounds, he has ideal size to play either the nose or under tackle position in the Cover 2 defense that the Colts deploy.
With his initial quickness, ability to play one gap defense, and how well he uses his hands, he has the kind of skill set to be at least a successful rotation player for John Teerlinck. And, with Ed Johnson making the roster as an undrafted player in 2007 and Eric Foster also going undrafted and seeing significant playing time in 2008, there is certainly a history of street free agents being heavy contributors at the position.
When you add in the fact that depth is currently an issue for Indianapolis at defensive tackle, Grady has a strong chance of surviving the cutdown to 53 players before the 2009 season kicks off.
Mike Hughes, Editor and Publisher of InsideTheVille.com, feels that Grady is a strong prospect.
"Grady was a leader on the Louisville defense," Hughes said. "He fought injuries early in his career, but bounced back with a solid senior season. He is a tough run stopper in the middle who can also get to the quarterback. Perhaps a less accomplished version of former Louisville defensive lineman Amobi Okoye and Montavious Stanley who both went on to play in the NFL."
However, he still faces a long road and has his fair share of competition, especially since the Colts drafted Taylor and signed free agent Patrick Kuntz of Notre Dame.
But, the fact remains that stopping the run and occupying defenders at the line of scrimmage is a vital part of the position and an area that certainly needs more focus on defense.
If Grady can prove to be an anchor on the line, he will significantly improve his odds of making the team and seeing meaningful snaps on Sundays this fall.
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