What to Expect-Ricardo Matthews

All week, I’ll be running a “What to Expect” series.  (Hughes, Angerer, Thomas, McClendon, Eldrige) The goal of this series is to create realistic expectations for the Colts draft picks based on historical performance from similar players.  Too often fans think of young players as ‘busts’ if they don’t produce their rookie years, when the reality is that most rookies don’t produce right away.

Ricardo Matthews was the Colts first 7th round pick at pick 238.  Let’s compare him with other Colts rookie DTs since 2002. Then I’ll show all DTs taken in the 7th round since 2005.

Colts’ DTs since 2002

Pick Games Starts Tackles Sacks
Tripplett 42 13 10 18 0
Moala 56 10 1 4 0
Pitcock 98 9 1 14 1.5
Terrance Taylor 136 0 0 0 0
Pugh 182 4 1 0 0
Dawson 242 16 4 17 1
Eric Foster UDFA 13 11 28 0
Ed Johnson UDFA 16 16 28 1
Antonio Johnson UDFA 8 4 11 0

Notes: Antonio Johnson was a midseason pickup from the Titans practice squadDawson also played end.

Wow, that’s a short list.  It doesn’t necessarily reveal much other than it’s hard to expect much impact from rookie DTs.  It’s easy to see why we were so high on Ed Johnson and Quinn Pitcock after their rookie years.

7th Round DTs since 2005

Pick Games Starts Tackles Sacks
Rick Jean-Francois 244 0 0 0 0
Darryl Richard 234 0 0 0 0
Jimmy Verdon 232 4 0 0 0
Kevin Vickerson 216 4 0 1 0
Keyonta Marshall 247 1 0 0 0
Rodrique Wright 226 13 9 28 1.5
Chase Page* 225 6 0 0 0
Fred Evans 212 1 0 0 0
Landon Cohen 216 6 0 2 0
Lionel Dotson 245 2 0 1 0

Note: Page played for a team other than the one that drafted him.

Want to make an impact in the NFL as a DT?  Don’t get drafted in the 7th round.  Though only two of the ten players taken got cut out of camp,  only one of the ten made the roster for half the season.  The most the average 7th round DT can hope for is a few game checks and a practice squad spot.

What to Expect:

Hope he makes the team.  Matthews has a chance to make the team because the Colts have a stock pile of guys exactly like him.  That is to say, they have lots of young players who have to stay hungry and have yet to fully establish themselves in the NFL.  Muir, Mookie Johnson, Moala, and Foster make up the probable bulk of the snaps, but if Matthews comes in and competes hard, maybe he makes the squad or at least hangs on in the practice squad.

Even if he does, it’s unlikely he’ll post more than 15 tackles.

Conclusion:

This is a good pick if:

  • He makes the team or the practice squad
  • He plays in 6-8 games
  • He posts 10 tackles

Nothing beyond that is realistic, and honestly, even that much production would be more than enough to validate the pick.

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