Colts scout reveals why team drafted Sam Ehlinger
By Jerry Trotta
The Indianapolis Colts stole headlines during the 2021 draft for a myriad of reasons, and that narrative continued on Day 3 of proceedings when they drafted Sam Ehlinger after a fantastic career as quarterback of the Texas Longhorns.
The Colts reportedly love Ehlinger’s character (how could they not?), but it remains to be seen how they plan to deploy him in their offense. Will he merely compete for the backup job or could he be utilized like Saints Swiss Army knife Taysom Hill?
It’s too early to tell. Whatever the case, fans in Indianapolis have been driving themselves up a wall wondering why the Colts drafted Ehlinger after they spent a fourth-round pick on Jacob Eason, the current favorite to land the backup job, last year.
Luckily for fans, they finally have some form of an answer.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Matt Terpening, the Colts’ assistant director of college scouting, went into great detail about why the front office felt compelled to draft the former Longhorn.
Here’s why the Colts drafted Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
"“I’ve seen him play twice in his career live and just over the years, the guy’s played a ton of football, he’s played at a high level,” Terpening said. “And I’ve seen it up close. He’s got energy and juice to him. He can rally his teammates. The thing I like about him is his poise and instincts.”“He’s always calm under pressure. And then he’s an athlete. He can beat the rush with his feet, he’s got quickness, he can make plays downfield and then he knows how to carry his team and bring his team back from behind. We’re totally excited to get him where we got him.”“He’s a great kid, he’s got great intangibles, there’s some guys on that Texas staff that I’ve known for 10, 12 years that just rave about him. So to get him where we got him is huge.”"
That’s a ringing endorsement from Terpening, and his comments suggest that Ehlinger could play a significant role as a rookie. That obviously doesn’t mean he’ll threaten Wentz’s job, but the 22-year-old QB could garner serious consideration for the backup job.
What more could a sixth-round pick ask for? Even if Eghlinger comes up short in the competition, the Colts’ evident adoration of his skills suggests he’ll stick around and continue learning under Frank Reich, offensive coordinator Marcus Brady and quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich.
While Eason clearly has the superior arm talent, Ehlinger has a distinct advantage in the athletic department and that could help him carve out a specialist role near the goal line, kind of like what we saw from Jacoby Brissett last season.
Nothing is set in stone just yet, but Ehlinger having a similar skillet to that of Wentz might help him in the backup QB competition, as the Colts might not have to alter their playbook all that much in the event that Wentz is injured.
On top of that, Ehlinger’s mobility could help the Colts’ defense prepare for matchups against dual-threat quarterbacks in practice leading up to Sunday.
We’re obviously just spit-balling here, but Terpening’s comments really indicate Ehlinger isn’t going to be brushed aside in Year 1 like most late-round picks.