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Before I can write this article, I think I have to define what “best fit” actually means. In my head, there are two types of fits, “scheme fit”, which everyone is the most familiar with, and “personnel fit”. If a player is a good scheme fit, his skill set and physical traits allow him to best execute the job(s) a particular system will ask of him. For example, Gus Bradley’s predominant Cover 3 scheme prioritizes length and size at the CB position so that they can disrupt the timing of routes, and make plays at the catch point.

Then there’s personnel fit. This is when the roster is constructed in a way that will best help a player reach his ceiling. For example, smaller LBs like Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke were able to reach their ceilings because they played on a defensive unit with two elite interior linemen, eating up blocks and allowing them to play free.

So now that we’ve defined the two types of fits…the “best fits”, players discuss in this article, are both good scheme and personnel fits.

It’s also important to note as a disclaimer: A good fit is not the end all be all. Chris Ballard and Co.’s job is to find good players. The coach’s job is to take talented players and make them work on Sundays. 




There is no better fit for Indianapolis than Rome Odunze. Many people on Twitter made their points for either of the LSU WRs, and that’s fair, but let me make the case for Odunze. Rome may not have a blazing 4.3 speed, but the 4.47 at 6027 and 212 lbs is still a good number. Rome isn’t the threat to take one to the house the way Nabers is, but what he does have, is the best blend of traits out of any of the WRs. He’s Davante Adams and I can’t unsee it. He has elite body control and catch radius to pluck the ball out of the air, he has light feet and good lateral agility to win at the release phase, he can track the deep ball as well as anyone in this class, and most importantly he’s as reliable as they come.




Here’s Rome’s resume that he’s handed to NFL teams. Anthony Richardson doesn’t have to make the perfect throw for Odunze to make a play, he also doesn’t have to make the perfect read either. Rome is so smart, so tough at the catch point, and has the body control to make the QB right even when he might have been wrong.

While Pittman had a career year and Downs emerged as a promising young slot option, Indy didn’t have the rare guy on the perimeter that a defense has to account for every snap. Last year they saw plenty of Base-to-11 looks and a high volume of man coverage. Adding Rome Odunze as the X receiver would change that in a hurry. You can’t afford to go into Base DEF with Pittman Downs and Odunze on the field. And it’s a struggle to find a route concept that Rome didn’t run well last year. Odunze gives you the formational flexibility to line up at X/Z/F while projecting to be the X Receiver they need who can win in the intermediate area. Furthermore, with Anthony Richardson and Jonathan Taylor in the core of the formation, teams will have to get an extra man in the box, allowing Rome to see a lot of favorable looks. So to wrap up my argument, what Rome lacks in YAC ability, he makes up for in almost every other facet of playing wide receiver. He’s the 3-wood right in the middle of the fairway, instead of the driver. You know what you’re gonna get and it’s going to be damn good.




I love Zack Hicks’ Build-A-Ballard series. His predictive analysis, using data from prior draft picks to forecast future draft targets, does an awesome job at describing the barrier of entry prospects will likely have to overcome to get onto Chris Ballard’s radar. If you want to see all of his awesome work check out this year’s draft guide!

Adisa Isaac is a player that I had circled before the combine, and his measurables proved to be a perfect fit for what Chris Ballard is looking for.

Once offered by Charlie Partridge when he was at PITT, Isaac is a great future LEO to rotate in with Samson Ebukam as he gets bigger and stronger. A LEO in Gus Bradley’s defense is the open-side DE (the side opposite the TE).




Isaac doesn’t have outstanding arm length, but it’s more than plenty to be successful in the league. Here he is vs. rising prospect Delmar Glaze at LT. While Manny Diaz had a phenomenal scheme at Penn State, often times their use of sims, creepers, and fire zone pressures left them unsound in the run game. This rep was one of those times.

This rep will make old-school defensive coordinators cringe. It’s a disaster all around. Penn State is running a sim pressure, where they’re almost certainly expecting a pass with Maryland in an open formation from 11 personnel. However, they’re actually running an outside zone play, that if it wasn’t for Adisa Isaac and some mediocre vision from the RB, they would have probably hit for a massive gain. There are two guys in the A gap, nobody in the B gap, and the LB is running away from the play for whatever reason. But Isaac uses his long arms, great hand placement, and strength at the point of attack to set a hard edge forcing the run back inside.



One other thing I love about Adisa Isaac is that he has a relentless motor for all four quarters. He’s the closer in the D-line room filled with good bullpen pitchers. Here’s a great rep from Illinois late in the game where he flashes his high motor and speed-to-power.

Adisa Isaac also has off the chart’s type of character, that the Colts fall in love with. He was a captain at Penn State and has a truly inspiring story. Similar to Kwity Paye when he came out, Isaac has the character/tape/measurable that the Colts front office falls in love with. He has a wide variety of ways he can win, and he’s gonna make tackles work for it every single snap. I think when you place him in a Gus Bradleys scheme, where the fronts are structured to let D-lineman just pin their ears back, and then in a deep DL rotation where he may not need to be an immediate impact player as he gets a bit bigger? Sign me up.

A lot of people will tell you that Adisa Isaac fits more of a 3-4 OLB role, and while they aren’t wrong, I think there’s a lot to like as a 4-3 end if he can put on a little more weight. After all, more and more of the league is transitioning to a 4-2-5 style of defense.




Nobody has grown on me more than Xavier Worthy. I’ll admit it, when I first watched Xavier Worthy I saw this wirey thin WR that I didn’t see as nothing more than a John Ross type of player. But then I watched him after the combine and this time more intentionally, and not just while I was admiring AD Mitchell. My opinion has drastically changed. I don’t just see a blazing fast-track star on a football field, I see a DeSean Jackson type of player. A lot of the track stars at the combine, particularly at WR, are better runners than they are football players. They play the game 20 yards from the LOS after they’ve run by the DB and often have very rudimentary route trees. I’ve talked in previous film rooms, mainly Alec Pierce’s, that WRs that can only win consistently deep down the field, won’t see the same success in the league.


Worthy isn’t JUST that guy. He can be a chess piece in the screen game, take negative plays and turn them into positives, and keep offenses on schedule. Here Texas is running an arrow screen off of PA and nobody is buying it. The timing is off and the ball is late to get into Worthy’s hands. But he turns himself immediately into a runner, makes a man miss, and keeps the offense on schedule. This is nothing to play most of the time.



Unfortunately, when you run a blazing 40, a lot of those players don’t opt to do any agility testing (because those guys don’t start and stop, they start and stop when they get to the end zone or get tackled). I’m not Worthy’s agent, but I think his agility numbers wouldn’t have been atrocious, judging from the tape. He has a unique ability to threaten vertically and throttle down in a hurry.

Worthy may not provide the ability to make the acrobatic or tough catches like Odunze or some of the better-built WRs in the class, but he gives an element to this Colts offense that they are desperately missing. Speed and YAC. If you want to see a glimpse into what concepts Shane Steichen might imagine with Worthy in the offense, look no further than any Isaiah McKenzie snap from last year. It doesn’t go talked about enough, but the staff had a vision for McKenzie in this offense, especially with AR, but it just didn’t come to fruition.






Malik Mustapha is one of my favorite safeties in the draft. While there are other safeties in the draft that had better production or more desirable traits, Malik Mustapha has a skill set that is rare among current safeties. He’s an excellent “centerfielder”, and my favorite MOF safety in the draft. Free safeties in the NFL, and certainly in Gus Bradley’s scheme, have to be able to play “redline to redline” (area between the hash and numbers). In a single-high defense, that middle-field safety has to have the range and play speed to give corners help, while takeaway plays in the post and seams.

Nobody has been better in that role in recent memory than Earl Thomas, who played in Bradley’s scheme.

For the record, I’m not remotely comparing Malik Mustapha to the future Hall of Famer, but rather painting a picture of how transformative a MOF safety can be in a Cover-3 predominant scheme. Gus Bradley himself has said how much he covets that skillset, and Mustapha has it.




Here’s a rep from Mustapha where Wake Forest is running a 3-weak coverage (weak rotation Cover 3 where the SS comes down opposite the passing strength) and Florida State is running a variation of a Yankee concept. It’s a popular route combination off of play-action, combining a big post with an over route. The goal is to put the MOF safety in a bind, forcing him to either come down to play the over and leave the corner 1-on-1 with no inside help, or bracket the post and leave the other corner to play the over route vs. outside leverage.

On this rep, the down safety and the LBs get their eyes caught in the run action and leave Mustapha out to dry giving him no help on the overroute. However, look at how Mustapha plays this… as Jordan Travis gets his eyes around and looks at Mustapha, you can see him subtly open his hips toward the two WR sides. Jordan Travis now knows he’s got the big post 1-on-1. What I love from Mustapha on this rep is that he’s got his eyes through the WRs to the QB (has the QB in his peripheral). As Travis goes to hitch and loads up for the throw, he’s already got his hips turned the other way. From there he tracks the ball beautifully and makes an impressive play on the ball.




Here’s Malik playing the middle 1/3 in a Cover 1 (M/M across the board) look. The offense is running a variation of “Shock” a route combination to a 3-WR side (Stick-Slot Fade-Locked Hitch). Shock is great against Cover 1 because the nickel has to cover the slot fade on an island. Once again, Mustapha is already going to make a play on the ball before the QB has even started his release. Now the INT is a gift, considering how poorly thrown the ball was, but the decisiveness and range are impressive.

Malik has the potential to slot right in for reps at FS in Gus Bradley’s Cover 3 defense. Additionally, I am enamored with the idea of having him play with a dynamic front 7 that allows him to focus more on limiting explosives as opposed to making plays near the LOS.




DeJean’s film has been all over Colts’ Twitter so I’ll skip this one.

So let’s just call it what it is…Cooper DeJean flew right back on every Colts fan’s radar after his private workout testing, and rightfully so. DeJean, whose pre-draft process had been derailed by a previous injury, finally was able to give scouts the elite numbers they needed to present their case to decision-makers. Throughout the process he’s been labeled as a tweener… too stiff to play corner, but too small to be a true safety. I don’t see it like that. What I see, isn’t a player without a true position, but rather a player without a true position! He has the athletic profile, ball skills, and tackling ability to realistically play all five DB spots in nickel defense. That becomes a massive advantage in your defensive game plan, but also if/when your injury report inevitably gets larger throughout a season. Indianapolis was forced into a situation last year where they were mixing and matching all over the secondary. DeJean positional versatility alleviates that.


I fully expect Mike MacDonald a pick later to be all over Cooper DeJean if Indy passes on him.




I think Will Shipley could be a great fit in Indianapolis. It’s glaringly obvious how much of a competitor he is on the football field. Especially in pass protection. He’s an undersized running back who doesn’t have the self-awareness to know he’s undersized. He’s cerebral in pass protection and takes pride in keeping the QB clean.




Here’s one of my favorite reps from Will. I’m not in the meeting rooms to know how they call or teach Pass Pro, but to me, this looks like an awesome execution of a Tom call. Clemson is running a half-slide or jet protection, which is probably the most popular form of protection in the modern NFL. Miami is bringing a 4-weak pressure, where they are sending 4 to the slide and overloading the protection. A tom call is when you tell RB to go pick up the nickel will because the OL can’t slide to him (in this case because the center is covered by the nose).

Will does a great job pre-snap to ID and solving the pass pro problem, and then you can see the feistiness in his play. Often in pass pro, you can only expect so much out of your back. They have to take on blitzers that have a running head start. It’s basic physics. A stalemate is a massive win. Look at Will absorb the rush. This is a throwaway because ultimately the pressure as a whole didn’t get picked up and the QB panicked, but I picked this one out because it showcases the toughness and football intelligence in his game.




Will’s competitive toughness shows up in other areas as well. Here he is running an HB draw. Almost identical to the runs you see in Madden, you can see the burst and contact balance in his game. Look at him gain width to force a bad angle for the Mike backer, just to stick his foot in the ground, shed another defender, and get upfield.




Will also is a viable option in the passing game. Clemson is running a variation of All-Go Special where Will Shipley is running a seam or bender route. He does a good job stacking a quarters safety, which you don’t see often from a seam route from an HB, by giving a little move at the top to sell an option route and then getting vertical.

I charted him for three drops last year but overall I don’t see it as a massive concern.




If you have a Head Coach who raves about a prospect, that’s almost always a good thing. Greg Schiano loves Max Melton, and I would go out on a limb and say the Colts probably do too. Here’s an excerpt from Schiano that tied a bow on my evaluation.


“He had a broken hand. He played with a broken hand for the beginning of the season. never said a word about it. Never told you guys (the media) about it – like he knows I would have not been very pleased if he told you – but you try playing corner playing press technique when you can only use one hand. So he was playing a lot of off-technique. If you go back and look at his game he’s so fast that pressing is something that he’s very good at because he can take some chances and has makeup speed.

“So he battled through that and then as it healed, I think you could see if you look at midseason on his game went like that (hand motion upward). That’s the player he is but even in that position, I thought he was still the the guy that should be out there. So I’m thrilled for him. And I totally get why it’s time for him to leave but I actually told him ‘You need to get going.’ You never know what happens. If you can be in those first two days, and I hope that’s where he goes, you’ll never have a chance to make that money back…So I’m happy for him. I’m going to miss him. He’s a baller. But it’s time for him to move on.” – via Rutgers Wire


Playing press with a broken hand is not something you should try at home.



Here is a breakdown I did on Twitter earlier. He combines instincts and football intelligence with a desirable athletic makeup. Rutgers didn’t major in Cover 3, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think Max Melton can’t play it.





Whether in Press Quarters vs. 3×1, pure M/M, or in Cover 3, Max Melton was asked to win 1-on-1 reps consistently. He found a lot of success doing it.

I think he’s got inside/outside/special teams potential and would be an immediate starter/competitor for Jaylon Jones’s spot at outside corner.




The Colts TE room has yet to take shape under Shane Steichen. The group’s most promising player Jelani Woods has yet to get to know the current staff as he’s been rehabbing from injury all last year. They are a platoon group at the position as of April 18, and that’s ok!

There’s this misconception that if Brock Bowers doesn’t go to Indy, then they are screwed at the position. I, for one, am not of that belief. If you want to hear my thoughts on the platoon model at TE, DM me on Twitter. Anyway…

Berwyn Spann-Ford is one of my favorite under-the-radar prospects for Indy because I think he has the in-line Y ability to eventually replace Mo Allie-Cox in the offense, all while at an affordable price.

At 6’6 260, he’s got the size to impose his will in the run game.




Yes, this isn’t a big defense lineman, but it does show his willingness to get guys in the ground. This isn’t a one-off either.




This is my favorite rep from Ford. He sees the ball go to the check down and sprints to be a lead blocker and put a DB on his ass. I mean… look at the passion man. It’s awesome.



The Colts have three goals heading into the Draft:

  • Find competition on the defensive perimeter
  • Add depth on both sides of the trenches
  • Find a pass catcher that defenses have to gameplan for

See ya on Thursday.


More from Colts Film Room on The Blue Stable:

Film Room: Piecing Together Indy’s Puzzling Secondary

Film Room: What’s Next for Alec Pierce?

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