Brandon McKinney Gives Indianapolis Colts a Natural Nose Tackle for New 3-4 D'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 24:  Brandon McKinney #91 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on from the huddle against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Colts.com has officially confirmed the signing of defensive tackle Brandon McKinney. The huge lineman provides the Colts with a natural nose tackle in their new-look 3-4 defense.

McKinney will be an ideal fit at the 3-4's most important position. At 6'2" and 345 pounds, McKinney has the size most 3-4 schemes demand at nose tackle.

The ex-Baltimore Raven will man the middle of the front and hold the point of attack. His massive frame and bulk will make the 28-year-old difficult to push backwards off the ball.

This will be key to solidifying a traditionally poor Colts run defense. McKinney plays with the right combination of leverage and straight-ahead strength.

The push he will able to create inside will be vital for a Colts front seven that will be accommodating 4-3 lifers Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney on the outside. Their ability to transition to Chuck Pagano and Greg Manusky's new system will remain in doubt, but the three-man line is beginning to take shape.

McKinney joins fellow former Raven Cory Redding up front to give the Colts two pocket-collapsing 3-4 proponents. Their size along the interior will certainly help to keep blockers off Pat Angerer and ensure that his tackle tally remains high in this scheme.

Current holdover Antonio Johnson plays with the kind of power and temperament that could make him a nice fit for a two-gap end in a 3-4. If not, Pagano may consider a drafter like Clemson's Brandon Thompson to round out the new-look line.

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McKinney will be key to the effectiveness of that front, and his acquisition was a smart move by the new Colts regime. His system experience, familiarity with Pagano and eagerness to establish himself as a regular starter also makes this a perfect move for McKinney.