Introducing Colts Linebacker Nate Triplett

Vikings linebacker Nate Triplett deflects a Brady Quinn pass in preseason. (Tom Dahlin | Getty Images)

After the Colts placed Cody Glenn on injured reserve — one of their best special teams coverage players — it made sense to find a player who could play with a similar style and hopefully have a similar impact on special teams. Indianapolis chose Nate Triplett for that opportunity, who started one season as an inside linebacker at Minnesota.

Unlike some of the earlier signings this year, Triplett looks like the kind of player who really has only one future with the team. At 6-foot 3-inches tall and 250 pounds he is much larger than a traditional Colts linebacker. Additionally, his weaknesses make him an unattractive option on defense. Prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, in which he was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the Fifth Round, CBSSports.com compiled a scouting report on what Triplett brings to the table, which is available after the jump.

Versatile linebacker who could play inside in the 3-4 or SAM in the 4-3. Instinctual, and a better athlete than expected. Tough vs. the run; stacks and sheds, also runs through trash inside to make plays. Solid tackler who wraps in space and doesn’t let go. Good in coverage, as well, getting to running backs and tight ends. Will contribute on special teams because of his aggressive nature.

Triplett’s strengths are his instincts, toughness against the run, tackling, aggressiveness, and special teams ability.  These traits are similar to Glenn, and just the kind teams look for when they’re trying to find a guy who will blow through blockers on kicks and punts to bring down returners.  It is worth nothing that in his sophomore season he was named Minnesota’s special teams player of the year for his nine stops in kick coverage.

Not great at any one thing; not ultra-strong, an elite athlete or speedster. A bit stiff in the hips; NFL tight ends and backs will run by him and out-quick him in space if matched up one-on-one. Needs to work on maintaining knee bend when dropping or else he’ll lose targets in coverage.

Triplett’s hip stiffness stood out in his NFL Scouting Combine tape, which is still available at NFL.com.  His size, stiffness, and general lack of quickness are his biggest concerns.  With players like Angerer, Wheeler, and Conner still ahead of him — and Brackett and Session soon to return — it is quite likely the Colts have made this move to replace Glenn’s special teams impact only, and not with a future defensive role in mind.

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