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How Ulrick John Fits with the Indianapolis Colts

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How Ulrick John Fits with the Indianapolis Colts
GeorgiaStateSports.com

Ryan Grigson doesn't disappoint. You knew that there had to be at least one head-scratching moment in the 2014 NFL draft, and while some may have qualified earlier picks in that category, the Indianapolis Colts' final selection of the 2014 draft was a doozy

The Colts selected Georgia State offensive tackle Ulrick John. How obscure was John? Neither ESPN, CBS nor NFL.com had player profiles on him. Each site had him going undrafted in the 2014 draft. There are no videos of him on Draft Breakdown. 

But Grigson and the Colts' staff had their guy. 

The rest of us, however, aren't so familiar with this enigma. 

 

The Basics

Similar to Colts' second-round prospect Jack Mewhort, John is an extremely tall lineman at 6'6". But unlike Mewhort, John is somewhat undersized for a tackle, weighing just 297 pounds. He's very tall and long, and he uses his long arms to keep defenders at bay.

Because of his light weight, John is also fairly quick, running a 5.02-second 40-yard dash at his pro day. That time would have put him seventh among offensive linemen at the NFL combine. John's vertical and three-cone drill numbers would have been some of the best among offensive linemen as well. 

We know Mewhort is long and athletic, but is he a strong blocker? 

In the film that I watched, you can tell he's comfortable using his long arms to corral incoming pass-rushers and steer them in the direction he desires. He does seem a little shaking in space, however, and gives up leverage quickly when on an island.

But John has that flexibility the Colts revere so much. Like Mewhort, John played tackle, guard and center while in college, and he actually came out of high school as a center.

 

The Fit

How much time and opportunity is John going to receive? That's the question for the former Georgia State tackle.

The Colts currently have 11 offensive linemen on the roster, if you include Mewhort. Then there's John, which makes 12, and we haven't even gotten to the undrafted free agents yet. The Colts likely won't keep more than nine offensive linemen at the very most, so John would need to beat out at least three of the following: 

OT Jack Breckner, OT Xavier Nixon, OG Joe Reitz, OG Lance Louis and OC Thomas Austin.

Breckner, Austin and Louis figure to be the easiest to beat out for John, but nothing is guaranteed. He's going to have to fight for a roster spot, and that's before he even begins to think about playing time. If he makes the roster, he could have value as a utility lineman, someone who can step up and play a position in a pinch. 

Is that a valuable thing for Indianapolis? Definitely, but versatility is something that most of the Colts' linemen have. Reitz can play multiple positions, as can Nixon. Thomas can slide into center if need be, and Austin can contribute at guard. John is going to need to prove his talent, not just his versatility. 

Fortunately for John, Grigson views him as a true tackle prospect and will likely try to groom him that way. That kind of player has value, even if it's on the practice squad.

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