The Indianapolis Colts are hoping they’ve found a couple diamonds in the rough with their undrafted free agents, and one ESPN analyst has two of these players on his top 30 watch list.
The NFL Draft may have passed but the analysts at ESPN never get a break. Mel Kiper has taken a look at the top 30 undrafted free agents and found two on the Colts that he thinks could be breakout players in the NFL.
Tight end Darion Griswold out of Arkansas State and running back Josh Ferguson from Illinois both make the cut, and coincidentally both play positions where the Colts could use some help. Players obviously have to make a roster before they can make an impact and with the depth charts not set at running back or tight end, they’ve got a better opportunity to find a home in Indianapolis.
Here’s what Kiper had to say about Griswold:
"Brings a basketball skill set and length to the position, and the TE options are just OK here after Dwayne Allen."
Kiper certainly isn’t wrong as the Colts will likely carry three tight ends into the season. Allen has a ton on injury history and Jack Doyle is more of a blocking tight end. The Colts are really hoping basketball-player-turned-footballer Erik Swoope has finally developed enough to get on the field in a meaningful game, but it never hurts to have more options at the position.
The scouting reports on Griswold is that he’s good at stretching the field, has very reliable hands, and was underutilized in the Red Wolves system. The knocks are that he’s not very explosive out of his stance and struggles to get separation from defenders, but has the size (6-5 255-pounds) to box them out.
Here’s Kiper’s take on Ferguson:
"He has sub-4.5 speed and can flat out make people miss; he’ll turn a little space into big plays."
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The Colts really could use a change of pace back in their offensive arsenal. From the NFL.com come scouting profile: “Ferguson isn’t the biggest back in the draft class, but his explosiveness and elusiveness are perfect for teams looking for a dual threat in the backfield.” Considering he was also used in a variety of ways in the passing game at Illinois, he could be exactly what the Colts need to compliment Frank Gore.
Ferguson is a little bigger than someone like Darren Sproles, but he has that same ability to make one cut and churn out yards in big chunks. The Colts haven’t really had a dynamic back in Andrew Luck‘s tenure and they need someone who can be a pass catcher on third downs.
This isn’t to say that Ferguson is that guy, but he’ll certainly get an opportunity to earn that role on the roster. He’s a guy that offers the versatility of being a slot receiver as well as a change of pace back.
The Colts have a lot of intriguing rookies on the roster this season. GM Ryan Grigson went for a few safe draft picks but also picked up a number of players with a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see who stands out in camp and the preseason starting in July.