Indianapolis Colts Add Depth Through Undrafted Free Agents: Fan Perspective

The Indianapolis Colts continue their rebuilding project through undrafted free agents, even after the 2012 NFL Draft has concluded. The team has signed 15 rookies, an NFL veteran, and a receiver who has taken an unusual path to the NFL.

According to , the Colts have signed the following undrafted free agents:

Utah DE James Aiono

Morehouse DT Chigbo Anunoby

East Carolina DT Steven Baker

Maryland DB Cameron Chism

Endicott College (Mass.) DE Kevin Eagan

Wisconsin DB Antonio Fenelus

Rhode Island OG Jason Foster

USC LB Chris Galippo

Iowa State OG Hayworth Hicks

Pittsburgh DB Buddy Jackson

North Carolina S Matt Merletti

Hampton S Micah Pellerin

Montana WR Jabin Sambrano

San Diego State P Brian Stahovich

Stanford WR Griff Whalen

The Colts and also announced the signings of TE Dominique Jones and RB Deji Karim. Karim was claimed off of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jones has taken an interesting path to Indianapolis. He has lined up at TE for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL but most recently has starred as a wide receiver for the of the . Jones is out of Division II and through seven games with the Express this season, he leads the team with 34 receptions for 403 yards and 9 touchdowns.

The Indoor Football League is also home to the , who feature former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens as both a receiver and a team owner. Former Green Bay Packers RB Ahman Green is part owner of the in the IFL. The closest IFL teams to Indianapolis are the and the .

Jones knows a thing or two about winning, as he helped Shepherd to a school-record 12 wins and advancement to .

These players will join those who were drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft at the Colts’ rookie camp, which consists of two practices on Friday, two more on Saturday, and a final practice on Sunday.

The author is a resident of central Indiana and a longtime fan of the Colts. He is also a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter at and on .

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2011 Indianapolis Colts Break Training Camp, Look Improved

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Indianapolis Colts linebacker Gary Brackett (58) leads a group of teammates during NFL football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)



After roughly 2.5 weeks of training camp, the 2011 Colts look like an improved football team.

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Aug 18, 2011 – Training camp for the 2011 seemed to fly by quicker this year than in year’s past. , it really does seem as if it were yesterday they were all reporting to their dorm rooms in a chariot line of golf carts. Perhaps the lockout, the excitement over the return of football, and the dazzle of the recent free agency period made the time zip by for many of us. Who knows.

What we do know is, after roughly 2.5 weeks of camp, the Colts look like an improved football team from 2010. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are still championship caliber, but it does put the Colts on the right track.

Earlier this month, for, essentially, dragging their feet during an unparalleled period of veteran free agency. While teams like the , , and got significantly better by adding free agent talent, the Colts sat still and stagnated. After we published our critique, the Colts started dipping their toes into the free agency pond, inking former-first round busts and . They also acquired and .

It’s no coincidence that three of those four players are noted defensive linemen, and all three can play the undertackle spot on the defensive line, an area of need for this Colts team seemingly forever. While I’m not so egotistical to think that our little critique of management prompted team general manager Chris Polian to open up owner Jim Irsay’s checkbook, it would be naive to think that the moves made by the Patriots, Eagles, and Texans did not motivate the Colts into improving their team via veteran free agency.

Contrary to the belief of some, there is nothing wrong with plugging ‘talent holes’ on your roster with veteran free agents. This is especially true when, like the Colts,.

But, despite the poor drafting, and despite quarterback taking part in ZERO training camp practices as he rehabs from offseason neck surgery, there is reason for optimism about this 2011 Colts team.

  • The additions of Harris, Anderson, and Brayton add a much needed veteran presence to a defensive line that was, quite frankly, slapped around all last season. Anderson and Brayton are known as defensive ends who can stop the run while Harris, when healthy, is a potent pass-rushing threat from the DT position.
  • Rookies Anthony Castonzo, , and have looked impressive both in camp and preseason. Nevis adds even more depth and talent to the before mentioned defensive line. However, the biggest weakness for last year’s Colts team was the offensive line, and already Castonzo and Ijalana have infused this area with improved play. Castonzo is already named the starter at left tackle, and if Ijalana continues to improve, he may start at right tackle.
  • Rookie free agent has been turning heads at camp at the strong safety position. He is also an excellent special teams player. Depth at safety is a major concern with starter recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. If Lefeged continues to develop, he could provide that depth.
  • is apparently wearing a new helmet made specially for him. While this does not guarantee that he will not sustain another concussion this year, it does convey that both Collie and the team are working proactively to keep him, and his noodle, healthy not just for his career, but for his life after football.
  • The linebacking corps is showing improved depth, with rookie and veteran having an impressive camp.

If there are concerns about this team as they break camp, the horrid play of the back-up quarterbacks in preseason has to be high on the worry list. There is also a lack of healthy depth at wide receiver. With cut, depth at corner is also a concern. hasn’t been exactly wowing spectators with his corner play, and many feel that should be starting opposite .

Regardless of these concerns, the Colts seem to have improved. Their next preseason game is Friday against the . Staying healthy is paramount for this Colts organization. If they can do that, they stand a very good chance of contending in 2011.

For more on the Colts, check out SB Nation’s Indianapolis Colts blog .

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Indianapolis Colts Find New Game-Changing Safety?


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2012 NFL Mock Draft Says Robert Lester Could End the Indianapolis Colts Safety Woes

The Colts left no room for error on the offensive line this year.

At No. 22 they got a gift in the form of Anthony Castonzo, then moved up a bit in the second to land big-time small school prospect Ben Ijalana.

There is no doubt the Colts knew they needed help up front to bolster their running game, and they even added a short-yardage, downhill runner in Delone Carter to help there as well.

Indianapolis had a great draft all the way around and will likely focus on the skill positions next year.

Wide receiver could definitely be an option, but with the opportunity to add a new Bob Sanders-like safety, the Colts will have a tough decision to make.

 

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Robert Lester is a ball hawk in the Alabama defense. He’s got good size at 6’2″, 215-pounds, plays the ball extremely well and has the speed to make a difference.

Alongside Dre Kirkpatrick and All-American Mark Barron, the Tide will have one of the best secondaries in the entire country.

Lester is still developing as he is only a junior, but look for him to be all over the field in 2011.

The Colts can use him immediately in a role that they need filled. 

 

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