Colts Add Defense in Round Seven

After taking a guard and a tight end earlier on day three of the NFL Draft, the Colts turned back to the defense with their three selections in the seventh and final round, taking Cincinnati DT Ricardo Mathews, Clemson LB Kavell Conner, and Indiana CB Ray Fisher.

The picks up the Colts' defensive haul in this year's Draft to six, as opposed to just two offensive selections.

Mathews was only a starter for one year in Cincinnati, but demonstrated a high motor and the ability to push through the line of scrimmage with 12.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2009.

At 6-feet-1, 295 pounds, he certainly has the bulk to play either tackle position in the Colts' defense, weighing in heavier than Eric Foster but lighter than starters Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir.

Conner (right) is a value pick for the Colts at No. 240
AP Photo/Dave Martin

The Colts drafted Fili Moala and Terrance Taylor for the position in 2009, but Taylor was cut at the end of training camp and Moala struggled to get on the field. Both Johnson, Muir, and Foster were players plucked from free agency, so some added talent at the position — long a source of consternation for the team and its fans — is much needed.

Conner appears to be a value pick for the Colts, as's Brad Keller projected him as Indianapolis' pick in Round Five. He was's 15th-ranked outside linebacker and the 152nd-ranked player overall, so his choice at No. 240 overall shows he went lower than anticipated.

What probably scared most teams off was Conner's size, at just 6-feet-1 and 225 pounds, but that actually fits well with the Colts' defensive philosophy. As Keller wrote, "Indianapolis will always bring in an influx of young talent at linebacker, either through the draft or with undrafted free agents ... Conner will give them a solid contributor on special teams that can start in a pinch for the 2010 season and beyond."

Fisher was another player that identified as a potential target for the Colts in this year's draft after he came in for a workout in late March.

Fisher is a converted wide receiver with solid speed, and is also a kick returner to boot, posting a very impressive 36.1 yards per return in Bloomington.

He is a bit undersized at 5-feet-8 and 171, about the same size as former corner and return man T.J. Rushing. NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber called him a "major tweener" but added "he could probably have an impact on special teams at the next level."

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