Profile of a Colt: 3rd and 4th Round

Sorry for the long delay from my last article. I needed some time off to focus on finals and my MCAT. I’m happy to be back and will be contributing weekly for the rest of the summer and into football season. Today, I’m continuing with the second part of a four part series that looks at how the Colts evaluate talent based off of measurable statistics, known as metrics, as well as information such as conference and academic success. The goal of this series is figure out what kind of players the Colts want in each round of the draft. If successful at cracking the Colts code, we can then target and attempt to accurately project players that the Colts will draft in 2011 and beyond.

Through this research, I noticed some distinct patterns for three different groups: 1st and 2nd rounders, 3rd and 4th rounders, and 5th, 6th and 7th rounders. Today, I will focus on the 3rd and 4th round selections from 2005-2010.

Player

Height/Wt

Speed

Production

Degree

Captain

Conference

School Year Drafted

Kevin Thomas CB

6’0/192

4.41

3

Yes

No

Pac 10

Senior

Jaques McClendon OG

6’2/305

4.96

3

Yes (2)

No

SEC

Senior

Jerraud Powers CB

5’9/190

4.49

5

Yes

No

SEC

Junior(RS)

Austin Collie WR

6’1/200

4.55

5

Yes

No

MWC

Senior

Philip Wheeler LB

6’2/245

4.66

5

Yes

No

ACC

Senior

Jacob Tamme TE

6’4/234

4.58

4

Yes

No

SEC

Senior

Dante Hughes CB

5’10/190

4.65

5

Yes

No

Pac 10

Senior

Quinn Pitcock DT

6’3/299

4.93

5

Yes

No

Big 10

Senior

Brannon Condren DB

6’1/203

4.47

3

Yes

No

Sun Belt

Senior

Clint Session LB

5’10/225

4.57

4

Yes

Yes

Big East

Senior

Freddie Keiaho LB

5’11/224

4.58

4

Yes

No

MWC

Senior

Dylan Gandy OG

6’3/300

5.12

3

Yes

No

Big 12

Senior

Matt Giordano DB

5’11/194

4.48

3

Yes

No

Pac 10

Senior

Vincent Burns DT

6’2/260

4.84

5

No

No

SEC

Senior

 

Player

Bench Press

20 Yrd Shuttle

Kevin Thomas CB

19

4.18

Jaques McClendon OG

37

NA

Jerraud Powers CB

15

4.08

Austin Collie WR

17

4.24

Philip Wheeler LB

25

4.29

Jacob Tamme TE

18

4.27

Dante Hughes CB

16

4.43

Quinn Pitcock DT

23

NA

Brannon Condren DB

24

4.1

Clint Session LB

36

4.15

Freddie Keiaho LB

15

NA

Dylan Gandy OG

NA

4.51

Matt Giordano DB

NA

4.02

Vincent Burns DT

25

4.41

In the last 6 drafts, the Colts have selected 14 players in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Out of those 14, 13 were seniors in college when drafted. All 14 had at least four years in college. 13 out of 14 graduated by the year they were drafted. Only 3 of the 14 selections came from a non-BCS conference. One, Clint Session, was team captain.

Like the 1st and 2nd round selections, height does not seem to matter. This is especially evident in the linebackers, where the Colts selected both 5’10 Clint Session and 6’2 Philip Wheeler. Again, speed is crucial to the Colts. 11 of the 3rd and 4th round selections had at least near elite straight-line speed for their position, as indicated by forty times. Lateral agility is also a necessity. Out of those who ran the 20-yard short shuttle, only Dante Hughes posted a poor time.

Instead of posting the statistics for each pick under production, I chose to rate it on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being poor, 2 being below average, 3 being average, 4 being above average and 5 being elite. In order to determine what category each player fit into, I compared his stats to those of his teammates and college football as a whole for the year he was drafted. Unlike the 1st and 2nd rounders, the Colts seem to be more flexible with production of these later picks. 5 of the 14 had only average production. However, it is clear that the Colts still highly value production, with 6 of the 14 3rd and 4th rounders either being All-Americans or number one at their position in their final year.

So what can we learn from these metrics? More importantly, how do the Colts separate 3rd and 4th round prospects from 1st and 2nd round ones? These new statistics only reinforce one of the definite conclusions from the previous profile; a degree is mandatory for success as a Colt. The only player who did not graduate, Vincent “Sweatpea” Burns, never saw the field. This only makes it more evident that the dedication it takes to graduate from college while playing football at an elite level is the dedication it takes to be successful in the NFL. Straight-line speed does not seem as highly valued as in the previous rounds. Other than Marlin Jackson, every Colts’ 1st and 2nd round pick had near elite or elite speed for his position. Jackson’s was still above average. However, in these later rounds, the Colts were willing to select 3 players, Collie, Hughes, and Gandy, with average speed. Leadership does not seem to be as important in the 3rd and 4th round. Only one player was a team captain, compared to nearly half of the 1st and 2nd rounders This could also be because team captains are usually the best players on their team, and therefore not readily available by the end of the 3rd. The Colts are also more willing to select from non-BCS conferences in the middle rounds of the draft.

Only one player doesn’t seem to fit the general mold of a Colt. Most Colts have either near elite straight-line speed or lateral agility. Many have both. Dante Hughes, on the other hand, is terrible in both. At his combine, Hughes had the worst forty time and vertical jump at his position. Furthermore, he was in the lower half for every other measurable statistic at the combine for cornerbacks. Why then did the Colts select a player that deviates so much from the prototypical Colt? The answer lies in his production and tape. As a senior, Hughes was the Pac-10 Defensive Player-of-the-Year and consensus first team All American. Obviously, the Colts ultimately rate players based off of a combination of production and metrics. For the 1st and 2nd rounders, they should have all three. However, as shown by Hughes, both are not necessary for the 3rd and 4th round selections. If a player excels in one of these categories, like Hughes with production, the Colts are willing to overlook the other and take that player somewhere in the 3rd and 4th. In Hughes case, the Colts ignored his lack of athleticism. While this did not end up working out as expected, it shows that the Colts are willing to deviate from their overall draft philosophy when they think they’ve found a special player.

Please feel free to comment, argue, and elaborate on this profile. Also, if you have a request for a draft related article, post it in the comments.

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