Report Card Grades for the Indianapolis Colts' Undrafted Free-Agent Signings
We've analyzed each of the Indianapolis Colts' draft picks in depth, and we've graded the draft as a whole. But there is a Part B to the NFL draft that can be just as vital if used wisely: Undrafted free agents.
While the vast majority of undrafted free agents end up being camp bodies that are cut before the season starts, some will make the team and contribute, and a team may even get lucky and pick up an eventual starter.
The next Jeff Saturday probably isn't hiding in this bunch, but you never know. How do each of the undrafted free agents signed fit in Indianapolis, and what kind of value to they have? That's what we'll be analyzing as we give each of the UDFAs their own letter grade.
DT Zach Kerr, Delaware
Kerr is a high-ceiling defensive lineman with as much physical ability as any of the undrafted free agents signed by Indianapolis. He's explosive off of the line and should be able to play nose tackle in the Colts' scheme.
It's the latter that makes this such a good pickup. Kerr was noted by many as a potential draft pick and is good value, but it's his potential fit in the Colts system as a backup nose tackle that encourages me. The Colts had no true nose behind Josh Chapman, and Kerr at least gives the Colts an option other than moving Montori Hughes.
C Jonotthan Harrison, Florida
Another strong signing at a position of need, Harrison was one center that many analysts had projected as a mid-round draft pick this season. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report had Harrison as the sixth-best center in the draft, ahead of guys like Corey Linsley (fifth round) and Demetrius Rhaney (seventh round).
Harrison isn't great in space, but he's strong and resilient in one-on-one battles at the line. He may not make the roster with a crowd of depth linemen vying for a few spots, but he'll make for good competition for Thomas Austin at the very least.
CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
Purifoy can be an impact player at corner with all of the physical traits needed to succeed as a corner, outside of blazing speed. Mel Kiper listed him (subscription required) as 10th overall on his list of top prospects prior to the 2013 season, and Purifoy was widely regarded as a top corner before struggling in 2013. He was still listed as ESPN's eighth-best corner just before the draft.
Purifoy still has the potential to be a contributor in the NFL, just needing direction and stability both on and off the field. If he can get that in Indianapolis, he could help solidify a shaky Colts secondary.
TE/WR Erik Swoope, Miami
Swoope isn't going to contribute right away, and he may never at all, but he represents what UDFAs should be all about: finding high-potential players from unlikely sources.
The former Miami basketball player has never played organized football, but Swoope is as athletic as they come. He'll try to follow the Jimmy Graham/Antonio Gates mold with Indianapolis, but it'll likely be quite a while before he's ready to step out on the field on game day. A likely practice squad player this year, Swoope is trying to break in at a position that's already pretty full for Indianapolis.
DT Tyler Hoover, Michigan State
Hoover is a camp body, and seemingly nothing more. He's been plagued by injuries for the last three years, was a sixth-year senior at Michigan State last year and doesn't project well as a nose tackle.
He could play end in the Colts' scheme, but Indy already has a crowd at the position.
WR Eric Thomas, Troy
Thomas has a good frame on him with decent size and good hands and the potential to be a possession receiver in the league if he improves his route running. Considering the Colts' lack of possession receivers amongst their long-term talent, that's a good thing.
However, Thomas doesn't have the traits of an exceptional special teamer, something that's a bit of a must for UDFAs at crowded positions.
S Dewey McDonald, California (PA)
The Colts needed to bring in at least some talent at safety to compete, and McDonald isn't a bad prospect. He has some versatility, which the Colts like, but projects best as an in-the-box-safety, which the Colts don't have.
With solid tackling skills and a nose for the ball, McDonald should contribute on special teams at the very least.
CB Darius Polk, Kent State
He isn't the most naturally talented corner, but Polk has good ball skills and could potentially move to safety if need be. Depth in the secondary was a huge need and Polk addresses that.
Polk may never amount to anything, but a potential big-play member of the secondary is always worth a look.
CB Keon Lyn, Syracuse
An inconsistent but physically impressive safety, Lyn has the best size of any of the signed cornerbacks and the physicality to play strong safety as well. Again, it's a position of need, so there's no complaints on this end.
QB Seth Lobato, Northern Colorado
I get that the Colts need a camp arm, but did they really have to sign one that was incredibly inconsistent and had poor technique in college. It's a luxury signing, and Lobato should be one of the first cut come August.
Lobato does have value as a scout team quarterback, simply because he's big and mobile enough to present the defense with a different look.
OG Josh Walker, Middle Tennessee State
I know that Ryan Grigson wants to bring in as much competition as possible on the offensive line, but the number of linemen who struggle to get out and move in space baffles me.
That being said, Walker does dominate his man pretty regularly, especially in the running game. He has a nasty disposition and should fit in well with the Colts' atmosphere.
OG Marcus Hall, Ohio State
Another depth offensive lineman, Hall is a bit better in space than Walker.
RB Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan
The Colts need some prospects at running back that at least project as contributors down the road.
Tipton isn't a particularly athletic prospect, but he has fantastic vision and athleticism that you can't quite see during the "underwear Olympics."
WR Tony Washington, Appalachian State
The bottom of the receiver grouping is going to be an incredibly crowded one, with young receivers LaVon Brazill, Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen all battling for a spot before the rookie UDFAs can even get to town.
Washington will have a hard time making the roster as a wide receiver alone, but Washington can return kicks and should get a look there in Indianapolis as well. He may not have elite speed, but he's slippery in the open field.
DT Nnamdi Obukwelu, Harvard
Sure, the Colts don't have a lot of competition at nose tackle, but they do at defensive end, where Obukwelu would most likely have to contribute in the NFL. He's too light to play nose at 295 pounds, but he does have great effort, which the Colts will love.
But as a high-upside prospect with long-term value, Obukwelu doesn't really fit in Indianapolis. Great effort and strong use of leverage works well in the Ivy League, but the NFL is a few notches up.
CB Qua Cox, Jackson State
I like the Qua Cox signing based on his film, but it's hard to judge whether or not that will translate to the NFL. Cox is small at 5'10", 178 pounds, and he doesn't make up for that size with exceptional speed or strength. His competition wasn't exactly noteworthy at Jackson State either.
But Cox comes in at a position of need and does flash impressive talent. The Colts will need him to bulk up a bit in the NFL, but he certainly has some potential as a member of the secondary somewhere.
K Cody Parkey, Auburn
Parkey could end up being a great kicker, but that seems pretty improbable at this point. Parkey really struggles with accuracy at a longer range, although he has a good leg.
But he's a camp leg to rest Adam Vinatieri. Nothing more, nothing less.
OT Eric Pike, Towson
Another offensive lineman who struggles in space, Pike is a strong offensive tackle who could use some improvement with his footwork. At 6'4", he's a prime candidate to move inside to guard, however.
But in a crowded line competition, it's hard to see Pike making a realistic push toward the final roster.
WR Greg Moore, Lane College
With a long, skinny frame and a penchant for scoring touchdowns at Lane, Moore is an interesting prospect. He needs to put some more muscle on his frame to be a real candidate as a possession receiver.
But Moore does seem to have the mental side of the game down, which is no small task. He's got great awareness on the field and is, by all accounts, a high-character player.
CB Kameron Jackson, Cal
Jackson comes in at corner, a position that needs competition, with good ball skills and a tenacious attitude. So what gives with his grade?
Well, Jackson is small at 5'9", 183 pounds, and his coverage is far too inconsistent for my liking. He reminds me of Cassius Vaughn, but without Vaughn's length. That's not a positive comparison.