Len Pasquarelli did an excellent profile and update of Joseph Addai's progress at Colts' mini-camp over on ESPN.com. Does nothing but make me feel even better about the pick.
I'll just go over some of the things that jump out at me.
First, something non-Addai that left me scratching my head
Ummmm Dom, yeah. No third person references. Please. In the Friday afternoon practice at the Colts' indoor facility, Addai actually slid about six inches too far to the right during a rudimentary handoff drill, and Peyton Manning was unable to make the exchange on a sprint-draw play that is one of the staples of the Indianapolis running attack. In the next two practices that ESPN.com witnessed, Addai never repeated the footwork error.
This is really good to see. With the sheer size and complexity of the Colts' playbook, Addai better be a quick learner or it's going to be a tough year for him and for the Colts. I'm not a believer that Rhodes alone can carry the Colts running game this year. And Addai needs to get that sprint-draw down, because it's one of those features of the Colts offense that makes it work. Without that stretch play, they can't do the stretch fake - the play that seems to open up the play action pass game more than any other play. Addai's receiving skills, lauded by Manning, are obvious. Unlike some running backs, who seem to fight the ball into their hands, Addai snatches it out in front of his body.
This is one of two things that has me convinced he was the best pick for the Colts (the second is coming later). The requirement that the Colts' RB be able to come out of the backfield is high, and it's been something that has sadly been lacking lately. I don't know why, if it was related to the knee injury, but it seems that since Edge came back from the injury he went out into pass patters far less than he used to. If we can get that aspect of the game back into the offense, it might help offset some of Addai's greenness in the running game. And he possesses more explosiveness in the secondary and more "long speed" -- traits that jumped out on the second day of the minicamp when Addai performed every task with more confidence than he did on Friday -- than James has. There is a bit of Dickerson in him, in that Addai runs notably upright, that his cuts are seamless and his feints effortless.
You know, it's great to hear he's got more "long" (aka breakway?) speed, but let's hold off on the Dickerson comparisons. Kid's got it tough enough he's followign the franchise's leading career rusher.
But I am interested to see his breakaway speed in-game. Edge certainly didn't have that ability to pull away from a DB and break the long run. Again, a post-injury effect?Indeed, their regard for Addai's blocking skills -- he played some fullback in an LSU career that also included a brief stint at wide receiver -- are one reason the Colts believe so steadfastly in him.
This was my second reason I think he was the best pick for the Colts (despite my early pulling for a Moroney pick). His history at fullback will (hopefully) lead to skill blocking for Manning. Unfortuantely, it's the one aspect of his game that, if he fails at it and Manning ends up on his butt too often and heaven forbid injured, could define him as a failure with the Colts no matter how many yeads he puts up.
So I'm feeling better and better about Addai as the news comes out about him. How do you feel?