When the Colts released their first 2011 depth chart yesterday, most eyes turned to the names along the offensive line, at linebacker and at cornerback, positions which have been in flux for the team this off-season. Amid that ruckus, one name quietly rose to near the top of the charts for his position, and with good reason. From all accounts, strong safety Joe Lefeged is putting together the kind of solid training camp that just may make him the latest in a long line undrafted rookie free agents who turn into success stories with the Colts.
Lefeged came out of Rutgers with scouting reports that were all over the board. Some experts insist he is better in pass coverage than against the run, while others claim that he attacks the line of scrimmage well but sometimes gets burned downfield. The overall impression is that he is talented but inexperienced and tends to shy away from tough tackles at times. He draws consistently positive reviews for his special teams play, though, and that may be his ace in the hole as training camp enters its final week.
During camp, Lefeged has continued to suffer from limited opportunities because Curtis Painter hasn’t exactly been Peyton Manning in creating downfield plays. Still, Lefeged has been solid in the looks he has received, and he is showing promise on special teams. The guess here is that he holds onto his status as Melvin Bullitt’s backup, and we all know that Indy’s undersized safeties generally have trouble staying healthy and on the field.
In other words, don’t be surprised if Lefeged makes it all the way into the starting lineup at some point this season.