Colts: Should we be excited about Indy’s UDFA signings?

The Indianapolis Colts turned a lot of heads during the NFL Draft, specifically with their selection of Vanderbilt edge rusher Dayo Odeyingbo in the second round.

This came after they drafted Michigan defensive lineman Kwity Paye with their first-round selection, which was considered a tremendous value pick (arguably the best of Round 1) given that he was regarded as the most talented edge rusher in this year’s class.

It remains to be seen how the rest of the Colts’ draft picks will pan out, but it goes without saying that GM Chris Ballard will be judged on the success, or lack thereof, of his initial two selections.

Luckily for fans, however, they were treated to relatively good news after the draft, as the team was extra aggressive signing undrafted free agents. First up was Duke running back Deon Jackson, who is already familiar with some NFL players.

Should fans be excited about the Colts’ UDFA signings?

We all know the Colts aren’t in dire need of running back help, as Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack form one of the most dynamic committees in the league. However, the details of Jackson’s deal proves the front office and coaching staff think highly of him.

After all, the former Blue Devil received a $45,000 signing bonus, which was the highest for an undrafted rookie this year. The 5-foot-11 Jackson ran a 4.42 40-yard dash (!) at his pro day and posted an overall RAS score of 8.94, so his athleticism is highly intriguing.

Next up on the list was USC receiver Tyler Vaughns, who was given a $22,000 signing bonus to sign as an undrafted free agent. While that pales in comparison to Jackson’s, it was still one of the highest deals of this year’s cycle.

A former teammate of Michael Pittman Jr., Vaughns is a big-bodied wideout who, despite posting average numbers at his pro day, was productive during his Trojans career. In his last full season in 2019, he tallied 74 catches for 912 yards and six touchdowns.

The Colts have a deep WR corps, but Vaughns’ imposing frame and impressive catch radius suggests he has a real chance of making the team out of training camp.

And finally, the Colts added a pair of linebackers in BYU product Isaiah Kaufusi and Liberty standout Anthony Butler. As fans know, Ballard, despite losing starter Anthony Walker to free agency, didn’t draft a linebacker this past weekend, so these were smart additions.

Darius Leonard and 2019 third-rounder Bobby Okereke figure to handle the lion’s share of snaps at the position, but don’t rule out Kaufusi or Butler carving out roles as undrafted rookies, because Indianapolis doesn’t boast great depth at linebacker.

After all, their current backups — Zaire Franklin, Matthew Adams and EJ Speed —  either have minimal experience or are largely utilized on special teams.

Bottom line? While we can’t confirm whether the Colts’ UDFA signings will even end up making the team, the sheer potential of these newcomers, especially Jackson and Vaughns, proves fans should be excited about their futures.