Colts Select Albany St. Defensive Lineman Grover Stewart with 144th Pick in 4th Round
The Indianapolis Colts selected Albany State (GA.) defensive lineman Grover Stewart with the 144th pick in the 4th round–immediately following the team’s selection of USF running back Marlon Mack (#143).
The 6’5″, 295 pound defensive lineman recorded 37 tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks for the Golden Rams in 9 games–earning All-SIAC honors (for the fourth time).
Here’s his NFL.com Draft Profile:
"DRAFT PROJECTIONRounds 5-6NFL COMPARISONDeon SimonBOTTOM LINEStewart’s girth, power and potential could lead a team to take him on the third day as a developmental run-stuffer capable of playing on the nose or at three-technique. Stewart is still very raw, but additional technique work could unleash a much more capable interior defender as he has the traits. The jump in competition will take some time to adjust to, but like other small school interior defenders before him, Stewart has the potential to work himself into a more prominent role within the first two or three years."
Stewart was Pro Football Focus’ 40th best remaining prospect entering ‘Day 3’ of the NFL Draft:
"“40. Grover Stewart, Defensive Interior, Albany StateBig Board Rank: 129Position Rank: 14Stewart is a massive human being, strong enough to win with bull-rushes and fast enough to win with athleticism. He possesses an elite combination of production (albeit against lesser competition), size and athleticism (23.5 career sacks, 33.5-inch arms, 30 bench press reps at 225, and a 7.65-second 3-cone). Being such a shallow interior class, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Stewart drafted very early on Day 3. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan”"
While defensive end appears to be one of the Colts stronger defensive positions (at least in numbers) with veteran Kendall Langford, promising end Henry Anderson, and emerging 2nd-year pro Hassan Rideway (not to mention veteran Margus Hunt was also added), the Colts did lose veteran starter Art Jones and rotational defensive lineman Zach Kerr earlier this offseason, so there’s definitely a need for additional depth.
Certainly driving the need for depth as well is the fact that both Langford and Anderson haven’t shown that they’ve fully recovered from significant knee injuries from a year ago.
Next: USF RB Marlon Mack adds dynamic player to backfield
From that perspective, Stewart seems like he could be a ‘small school sleeper’ for the Colts as he possesses impressive physical measurables and has been productive–albeit against much lesser competition than say the SEC.
However, it appears like he was solid value at this spot in the NFL Draft, and it’s worth noting now that 4 of 6 of new general manager Chris Ballard‘s first picks have been on defense–with no end in sight.