In researching all of the players available for our DT needs this year, and considering all the other quality players that may be available in the draft at other "need" positions this year... I read something that I think may make addressing our DT needs in the later rounds more difficult than I previously had expected, particularly at NT.
With all of the teams switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme this year, there will be a high demand for space-filling NTs the likes of which we've not seen in awhile. That could make Terrance Taylor or Sammie Lee Hill go earlier than many would think and leave the Colts brass scratching their heads looking for MVPA late in the draft.
One such player who may be available and would be exactly what we're looking for at NT, in terms of filling space, holding ground, not getting blown off of the ball, and being stout against the run is Miami's Antonio Dixon. His draft stock has fallen because of a knee injury but gambling on his recovery with a 6th or 7th round pick is not unreasonable and could turn out very wise.
6'3", 328 lbs.
'09 NFL Prospect Head-to-Head: Week 6
Antonio Dixon is a big, athletic interior lineman who, when healthy, can create a lot of problems in the trenches. He has a quick first step, plays with outstanding pad level and gets penetration through the middle. He plays with a solid motor, is forceful up field and fights off double teams.
Miami has one of the top run defenses in the country, allowing just 65 YPG, and senior Antonio Dixon has been a huge reason. At 6-foot-3, 324 pounds, Dixon is a load in the middle and fills a gap nicely. He may not have high production numbers (7 tackles), but what he does in the trenches, by occupying two blockers at once, allows others around him to make plays.
Oh, by the way, he may drop off of the board entirely and could be had as an UDFA. I hope the Colts are all over him. He would be great competition for the NT spot, even if we draft a player like Terrance Taylor/Sammie Lee Hill.
I can't give you much more on him right now, I'm assuming he's still rehabbing and trying to get ready for training camps and the like. He is no stats junkie, his role isn't really suited to rack up stats. However, it would be dangerous for a physical force like Dixon to be lined up with another physical penetrating pass-rushing force like Hood/Gilbert/Jerry, with Freeney/Mathis on the outside. Double who exactly? Someone is getting through.