Assessing Every Indianapolis Colts UDFA's Chances of Making the Final Roster
The undrafted free agents that the Indianapolis Colts signed have gotten to work at the team's facility for rookie minicamp, and they will continue to get work throughout the summer.
UDFAs are a hopeful group, both individually and from a fan perspective, with everybody looking for the next diamond in the rough. Every prospect is looking for his big break, while fans look for the best in players that somehow went overlooked in the draft.
When it comes to the extensive list of UDFAs the Colts signed, what can we reasonably expect? That's the question we tackle today as we look at each prospect's chances to make the Colts' final roster in September.
DT Zach Kerr, Delaware
The former Delaware defensive tackle is one of the Colts’ most talented undrafted free agents and plays at a position that the Colts need depth at.
Currently, Josh Chapman is the only pure nose tackle on the Colts roster. But don’t take that to mean that Kerr is a shoo-in for the final roster. While some saw Kerr as a potential mid-round draft pick, he went undrafted for a reason. While the Colts don’t have a true nose tackle, Montori Hughes has the potential to slide inside, as does Arthur Jones.
Jones likely will replace Cory Redding at end, but in 2014 the team may try to get the two—along with Ricky Jean Francois—on the field together as much as possible. Overall, however, it’s a position of need for Indianapolis and Kerr is talented, giving him as good of a shot as any to make the roster.
Chance: 60 percent
C Jonotthan Harrison, Florida
The Colts desperately need people to compete at the center position, and Jonotthan Harrison is a prime candidate to push current backup center Thomas Austin. Harrison was a three-year starter at Florida and was known to be a leader on the team, giving him the character that head coach Chuck Pagano values so highly.
Harrison is a strong, resilient center, but he doesn’t necessarily move well. The Colts don’t ask their centers to move as much as they do their guards, but Harrison still may struggle in camp because of it. Plus, the Colts may not feel like they need a true backup center, having Jack Mewhort and Donald Thomas both with history at center. But, like Kerr, Harrison’s overall talent at a position of need makes him one of the better UDFA options of this class.
Chance: 65 percent
CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
Out of all of the cornerbacks that the Colts brought in, Loucheiz Purifoy has the most physical talent and would be the best fit in a vacuum. But Purifoy’s character issues may cause him to stumble out of the gate, and a practice squad placement early on as he adjusts to full-time life in the NFL may be the best step.
Again, it’s a position of need and Purifoy is talented, but like Da’Rick Rogers last season, he may need to mature a bit before landing on the final roster.
Chance: 35 percent
TE Erik Swoope, Miami
One of the most interesting UDFAs in the league this season, Erik Swoope has never played organized football in his life, but decided to switch from basketball. Rather than seek a semi-professional career in Europe, or some such situation, Swoope is attempting to convert his athleticism into a professional football career.
At 6’5”, 220 pounds, Swoope has the size to be a tight end, but the transition is going to take time. Much like Daniel Adongo last season, Swoope is going to need to spend some time on the practice squad before taking up an active roster spot. He’s a project that could pan out, but he’s just that for now: a project.
Chance: 5 percent
DT Tyler Hoover, Michigan State; DT Nnamdi Obukwelu, Harvard
If he could play nose tackle, Tyler Hoover could compete for a position, but that’s unlikely with his long frame. At 6’7”, 290 pounds, Hoover doesn’t have the leverage to anchor a defensive line. Nnamdi Obukwelu is a similar style, weighing 295 pounds (although he does have better leverage at 6’3”), and he likely won’t get a second look after the veterans return.
At defensive end, there’s just too much competition for an UDFA, especially one with injury history (Hoover), to make a serious run at a spot on the roster.
Chance: 7 percent
WR Eric Thomas, Troy; WR Tony Washington, Appalachian State; WR Greg Moore, Lane
Nothing against any of these receivers, but the Colts already have plenty of receivers that will be fighting for a roster spot. Eric Thomas and Greg Moore both have big enough frames to be possession receivers, and Tony Washington is slippery in open space, but none are special teams standouts.
With Da’Rick Rogers, LaVon Brazill and Griff Whalen all fighting for what should be two spots at most, it’s hard to see any of these receivers getting on the roster this season.
Chance: 10 percent
SS Dewey McDonald, California (PA)
As the only safety that the Colts signed at a time when the safety position is incredibly thin, Dewey McDonald has a good shot at making the final roster. Outside of LaRon Landry, none of the Colts safeties are locks to make the roster, although it’s a fair guess that Delano Howell and Sergio Brown will make it.
Even if they do, there’s still one spot up for grabs, and McDonald projects as a strong safety to fill Antoine Bethea’s role at the next level. If he can play special teams and learn quickly, he’ll find a home in Indianapolis.
Chance: 45 percent
CB Keon Lyn, Syracuse; CB Qua Cox, Jackson State; CB Kameron Jackson, Cal
All three of these UDFAs have inconsistent coverage in man sets, but could be candidates to move to safety. Kameron Jackson and Qua Cox could stand to bulk up some, but they have a little bit better instincts in coverage than Lyn.
Cornerback is a needed position, and one of the three could easily make the final roster, especially if they have a history as a gunner on special teams.
Chance: 35 percent
K Cody Parkey, Auburn
Adam Vinatieri just signed on to a two-year, $5 million contract, so unless an UDFA kicker was secretly Sebastian Janikowski, any kicker was always going to be a camp leg.
Chance: 1 percent
QB Seth Lobato, Northern Colorado
Like the kicker, any quarterback prospect was going to have to be a special UDFA to beat out veteran Matt Hasselbeck for the backup QB spot. Seth Lobato is a very raw passer and would need some time on a practice squad before being ready to be on an active roster.
Even if Hasselbeck wasn’t there, Lobato wouldn’t be my ideal prospect to back up Andrew Luck.
Chance: 2 percent
OG Josh Walker, Middle Tennessee State; OG Marcus Hall, Ohio State; OT Eric Pike
Both of these guards are strong in small spaces but struggle on the move, and Eric Pike is similar. Unless the Colts are switching blocking schemes this offseason, it would be a poor fit for Indianapolis.
However, the Colts have open spots at guard, and any of these three certainly could earn their way onto the roster. But there's already is a crowd competing, and an UDFA would need to stick out in order to even be considered. None of these prospects flashed on film, and are likely bodies for camp.
There’s a weak position here, but it’s still an unlikely scenario.
Chance: 20 percent
RB Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan
Zurlon Tipton is a prospect that could project as a contributor down the road at running back, with sneaky-quick acceleration that allows for bigger plays than his top speed might lead you to believe. Pair that with impressive vision, balance and lateral agility on the move and you have a running back that could contribute.
The Colts still need to find a fourth running back, with neither Chris Rainey nor Dan Herron being locks to make the roster. Both received very limited snaps last season and will be fighting to keep that spot in 2014.
Chance: 30 percent