It seems almost every year Colts President Bill Polian finds a way to get more out of less for his franchise during the NFL’s off-season. One need look no further than cornerback Jacob Lacey, an undrafted free agent signing following the 2009 NFL Draft to see that the Colts front office is capable of finding tremendous value from players who are passed over multiple times by each of the 32 NFL franchises.
Polian also manages to find solid contributors from cast-offs who fail to stick on the team that originally drafts or signs a player. A couple examples would be Raheem Brock, originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, who contributed to the club for eight seasons at both defensive end and defensive tackle before he was granted his release entering the 2009 off-season. At that time Brock was tied with Dwight Freeney as the longest tenured Colts defensive lineman on the team.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Colts managed to pick up long-time starting center Jeff Saturday after the Baltimore Ravens released him in 1998. After starting only twice in 1999, Saturday took over the starting job and has since played his way to four Pro Bowl selections.
Last year, on September 9, 2009, the Colts signed linebacker Cody Glenn off of waivers from the Washington Redskins after training camp and preseason play had concluded. The Redskins drafted Glenn in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Glenn played college football for Nebraska, spending his first three years at running back. He was recruited as a star running back in high school, finishing eighth in total rushing yards in Texas Class 3A history, but never developed into a successful college rusher, partially due to a crowded backfield. Glenn and the Nebraska coaching staff reached a mutual agreement to transition him to linebacker for his senior season.
In his first and only year as a linebacker, Glenn managed to collect 51 tackles, including six tackles for a loss and four pass breakups in only nine games. He missed the final four games of the season after violating team policies, the reason for his suspension was not released.
After joining the team, already entering the first week of the 2009 regular season, Glenn went through the common process of getting shuffled around between getting released and making his way onto the practice squad. Finally, in week nine, Glenn made his debut against the Houston Texans and contributed a special teams tackle.
While he only added four additional special teams tackles over the following five weeks, where he made the most progress and showed signs of development and potential was in week 17 and in the divisional and conferences championship games in the playoffs. During that three-game span he tallied seven total tackles on special teams and in back-up role on defense.
What is noticeable about Glenn on the field is that he is dynamic, often used as a short-yardage lead blocker in the backfield on offense, fast, and plays with a high level of intensity. These attributes could allow him to stay on the squad in 2010, make him a powerful force on special teams coverage units, and lead to a larger role on defense.
Consider that this will be only his third year as a linebacker, his first full season playing in the NFL, and that he made regular contributions after he had the opportunity to learn the system at season’s end a year ago and there is much to be excited about. Keep an eye on his progress throughout the summer and in the preseason. He could be on the verge of becoming difference-maker for the 2010 Indianapolis Colts.