The Colts announced yesterday that they have signed four of their 2012 NFL Draft picks (all to four year deals), including:
- Fifth round pick RB Vick Ballard
- Sixth round pick WR LaVon Brazill
- Seventh rounder LB Tim Fugger
- Mr. Irrelevant, QB Chandler Harnish
As you can see, all of these signings are of the late round picks, with OL Justin Anderson being the only pick in this group that has not been signed. It has also been reported that early fifth round pick Josh Chapman has been signed to a four-year deal, although this was not confirmed by the Colts.
Other recent moves by the Colts include the release of CB Mike Holmes, who was on the practice squad last season for the majority of the season. He was put on the roster for the final four games, but was never active.
Holmes was replaced by TE Andre Smith, who was on the roster for eight games for the Bears last season, but was also never active.
Other notes from the last few days:
- Delone Carter is reportedly recovering from thumb surgery, per Mike Chappell of the Indy Star. Chappell also told us that new QB Chandler Harnish will be sidelined for a few weeks with a "knee issue."
- Attendance at the OTA's has reportedly been phenomenal, a good sign for a rebuilding team. Donald Brown mentioned that attendance has bee "100%", and Coach Chuck Pagano seemed very pleased with the turnout. It's good to see that commitment from the holdover Colts from the old regime, especially a guy like Reggie Wayne, who usually trains in Miami over the offseason.
- The idea that the Colts may have started their OTAs too early, or had more than the allotted ten sessions planned, is wrong. The Colts scheduled to start their OTAs this past Monday, went through Wednesday, and will do the same next week. The final four will come on June 4-7.
The other thing I wanted to talk about was the fact that the Colts are aiming for a 3-4 base defense. Yes, the defense will likely be a hybrid in 2012, I fully expect them to run a large percentage of their base defense from a four down linemen front. As I wrote about back in April, the Ravens actually spent more time in a four down linemen look than they did in a three down linemen package, and when describing how the defense will use certain players in 2012, Pagano continually used the Ravens' defense as an example. I expect the Colts run something very similar to the Ravens next year, with a 3-4/4-3 hybrid.
However, I firmly believe that the Colts are aiming towards eventually fitting into a more traditional 3-4 category. Irsay referred to the system as a 3-4 in a tweet this week, but I don't think that wording has any bearing on the matter. What matters is that Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky refers to the defense as a 3-4, saying: "let’s transform ourselves into a system from a 3-4 perspective."
When we look at the numbers from Manusky's defense (San Diego), we find that he LOVES having three or less down linemen. During the 2011 season, San Diego used three down linemen 56% of the time, and only two down linemen 40% of the time. That's three or less linemen 96% of the time! So, while I think the Colts will definitely have a hybrid look this year, I completely believe that they are attempting to transition into a much more traditional 3-4 type of defense.