6 Hidden Gems Indianapolis Colts Should Have Noticed at the Combine
With the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine wrapping up, the Indianapolis Colts likely noticed a few hidden gems that stood out during their respective workouts.
While the Colts may not have a first-round selection, the NFL draft is still a great opportunity to build for the future, and general manager Ryan Grigson proved that he could find hidden gems back in the 2012 draft. Grigson found players like T.Y. Hilton and Dwayne Allen in the third round as well as Vick Ballard in the fifth.
While the combine is only a small part of the scouting process, a handful of prospects really stood out over the past weekend. With that being said, let's take a look at a few players at positions the Colts might draft that had strong outings in Indianapolis.
All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.
L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
While Hilton has emerged as a long-term option at wide receiver, depth is still an issue at the position. Reggie Wayne will be returning from an ACL tear and won't be playing forever. Meanwhile, Da'Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen and LaVon Brazill have all shown potential, but have yet to make a serious impact on offense.
If the Colts are looking for a prospect in the later rounds at receiver, L'Damian Washington may be the way to go. He's a 6'4'' receiver that's capable of stretching the field with his vertical speed and big-play ability. At the combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in just 4.46 seconds, and considering his height, that's very impressive.
While drops aren't a massive concern, Washington does tend to catch passes with his body rather than his hands, and he doesn't tend to use his size to his advantage when going up for 50-50 balls. His game isn't completely developed yet, but Washington could quickly turn into the player Colts fans were hoping Darrius Heyward-Bey would be during his time in Indianapolis.
Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State
There are a number of ways the Colts could go with their second-round pick, but if they're looking for a defensive prospect with huge upside and versatility, Florida State's Telvin Smith might be the way to go.
The reason Smith was so successful at Florida State was because of his top-notch instincts, as he did a great job recognizing plays and blowing them up before the offense could get set. Smith has terrific closing speed and is very strong in coverage, and his time of 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash showed that he has the speed to keep up with players at the next level.
However, the issue for Smith is that he's so small and will need to bulk up in order to be an effective linebacker in the NFL. Currently at 6'3'' and 218 pounds, Smith might have the build for more of a safety than a linebacker at this point, but that could change if he is able to put on some weight before the draft in May.
Russell Bodine, OL, North Carolina
It's no secret that the biggest weakness for the Colts is on the interior of the offensive line. Donald Thomas will be returning after tearing his quad at the very beginning of last season, but the Colts will still likely have Samson Satele and Hugh Thornton as starters, and that will need to change in order to keep the pressure off of Andrew Luck.
While he may not be an instant starter, the Colts could add some depth and versatility to the interior of their offensive line by drafting Russell Bodine out of North Carolina in the later rounds. Bodine made his presence felt at the combine, leading all players with 42 reps in the bench press, then finished with a 29-inch vertical jump, one of the best among offensive linemen.
If the Colts bring in Bodine, they'll be getting a player that can play either guard or center with his aggressive nature and solid ability to stand his ground in pass protection. While he has short arms and tends to play a little stiff, Bodine could still be a nice piece to step up when injuries occur.
Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
The situation at center for the Colts is an odd one. Satele has seriously struggled as a starting center, yet we never really got to see what former rookie Khaled Holmes could do, as he was usually a healthy scratch. Whatever the situation is with Holmes, the Colts might consider bringing in a center early to put some legitimate heat on Satele.
While Richburg didn't stand out with any eye-popping numbers in the combine drills, the Colts likely took a long look at him, as he wasn't necessarily bad in any drill.
During his time at Colorado State, Richburg showed that he could quickly get off the snap to engage his defenders without sacrificing balance. He also showed some serious durability at the position, starting in a school record 50 games, and that's a very underrated trait for a prospect on the offensive line.
While Richburgh isn't the biggest offensive lineman at 6'3'' and 298 pounds, he has the experience and reaction time at the position to be a solid backup that could one day develop into a starting center at the next level.
Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville
While Robert Mathis led the NFL in sacks last season, the Colts still need help rushing the passer. Mathis won't be playing forever, and Bjoern Werner is still developing as a pass-rusher in a 3-4 defensive scheme.
As one of the faster defensive linemen at the combine, former Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith might have gotten the attention of the Colts after running the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds and posting a vertical jump of 35 inches.
During his senior season with the Cardinals, Smith racked up 14.5 sacks and was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year. He is quick off of the snap and is capable of bending down to squeeze by offensive linemen on his way to the quarterback.
Smith may still be developing as a pass-rusher and run defender, but he already has a nice spin move in his arsenal and has the athleticism to become a 3-4 outside linebacker if he goes to Indy.
Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke
Even if Vontae Davis is re-signed, which seems likely, the Colts are going to be pretty thin in the secondary this coming season, and they may consider adding some depth at cornerback in the middle to late rounds.
One corner that continues to generate a bit of buzz has been former Duke Blue Devil Ross Cockrell. He had a strong outing during the Shrine Game, getting an interception on Tommy Rees at the end of the game. Before that, he did a great job containing Mike Evans during the Chick-fil-A Bowl, holding him to just four receptions for 72 yards in the game.
At 6'0'' and 191 pounds, Cockrell has solid size for a cornerback, but he also has great ball skills. Cockrell does a great job recognizing routes and reading the eyes of opposing quarterbacks, helping him jump passes and create big turnovers. Still, Cockrell doesn't have big hands or long arms, and that could possibly limit his potential in the league.
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