The Colts continue make roster moves, exchanging four players yesterday in an attempt to improve their practice roster:
#Colts release DT chigbo anunoby, t darrion weems from PS; sign NT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and tackle Tony Hills to PS— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) September 19, 2012
The only notable one here is defensive tackle Nicolas Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste was on a lot of people's radar before the draft, and it was a little surprising when he went undrafted. Baptiste was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Ravens, but was cut a few weeks ago.
Ryan Grigson, or his scouts, must have a pretty good interest in both Jean-Baptiste and Tony Hills to sign them midseason, but especially Jean-Baptiste. Chigbo Anunoby didn't wow anybody in the preseason, but he did enough to make the practice squad. It makes you wonder what Grigson has been looking at over the past few weeks to now want to sign Jean-Baptiste.
What we dont know is if Grigson tried to get Jean-Baptiste as an UDFA and missed out to the Ravens so he signed Anunoby instead. I'll assume that this was the case and I'm very happy with the move since I wanted them to draft him.
This is actually a fine pickup when you factor in the low risk and cost involved (UDFA level pay). There's next to no risk involved, and the potential to actually make the team is there.
Granted, this isn't a surprise home run. For starters, calling NJB "raw" is understating the case. He'd probably still be considered underdeveloped for some college programs out there, and I say that even after acknowledging that he completed an entire college career at Baylor. On top of that, he's got honestly glaring flaws, which is why he went undrafted. He's probably got Gheorghe Muresan's footspeed at best, and his arms are stubby enough to make you wonder how he picks himself up if he lands on his back. He sure as heck isn't any 3-4 DE, that's for sure! His lateral movement ability is roughly equivalent to that of a locomotive. And above and beyond that, the knock on his game is that he's at best a 2-down tackle... as long as you give him plenty of rest <i>during</i> those downs. He's the Gimli of the team: "Very dangerous over short distances". He'd definitely never make a Dungy-type defense, since his All Out Sprint is probably a Tampa-2 tackle's "loaf". So in the end, this isn't like finding a first rounder that everyone and their brother missed; the Ravens would've kept him had that been the case. Rather, if the Colts handle him as a developmental project and do so properly, they might actually get a pretty solid interior lineman in return. Despite his numerous and severe flaws - flaws that cannot be ignored - it was conceded by scouts that the guy was a handful to all offensive linemen he faced. Supposedly, the guy can anchor like a damn oak tree, albeit a squat, round one. On top of that, despite not fitting the profile, he was actually usable as a 4-3 undertackle, and demonstrated the ability to get through the line and tackle in the backfield consistently... as long as the QB or ballcarrier was not fast enough to get out of the way, but the point is that he rarely <i>missed</i> tackles once he got there. With his skills, he has the potential to be a legit 2-gap NT as well as a single-gap penetrating tackle, as long as you're facing a power team that doesn't have a whole lot of speed and agility in the interior game.
So, yeah, definite huge glaring flaws. But this tantalizing upside for being a bowling ball of a DT that can make centers and guards go "Hey, somebody help me with this guy!". For a FA in-season pickup, he's not a bad find. You can do worse.