Although offensive line is the big need after the cutting of Ryan Lilja, you can't overlook the need of defensive end. We've all seen what happens when Dwight Freeney is injured. It's usually an epic failure. Mathis can't beat the double team and Raheem Brock and Josh Thomas were not pass rushers. For the Colts to be able to return to the Super Bowl, they will need to upgrade the defensive end position. That is where Everson Griffen comes in.
Griffen was one of the most hyped recruits USC had under Pete Carroll. He was the number six recruit in the country according to Rivals and number one according to Scout. Needless to say, there were high hopes for him. He was a primary pass rusher for the Trojans in his freshman year, and he made the Freshman All-American team with 5.5 sacks.
His next two years were disappointing. He could not keep the starting job as a sophomore and only had 4.5 sacks. Things did not improve in his final year at USC. He ended up getting 7 sacks but obviously did not live up to expectations. While he did not have the best college career, his potential is unbelievable. At 6'3", 278 pounds, he ran a 4.66 forty (2nd best for defensive linemen) and a 32 bench presses. Whether he is a workout warrior or a future star remains to be seen, but there is no denying that those numbers are impressive. Scouting reports and video are after the jump.
Good size Very quick first step Nice speed Tons of experience at rush backer Comfortable in coverage Fluid athlete Great in pursuit Rangy Anticipates snap count very well Plays with nice balance Very good agility Plays with great pad level Very high upside Hard hitter
Highly inconsistent Never really dominates Lacks a pass rush repertoire Lacks awareness - struggles to diagnose Below-average instincts Unimpressive motor Underproductive Very raw prospect Poor hand use Should be more powerful Might lack some leadership Doesn't play a high percentage of snaps
Flashes a quick burst off the snap. Has a quick counter move to spin back inside. Must use his hands more consistently to break free from blockers once engaged. Uses rip and swim moves, but neither is effective enough to be a go-to move in the NFL. Good use of strength for the bull rush. Has a good closing burst when he has an open lane. Struggles locating the football. Is so concerned with getting upfield that he will run right by the action on inside running plays...Appears to have the bulk and strength to hold up at the point of attack, but too often is engulfed and pushed back. Quick enough laterally to extend the edge. Rides the tackle outside and keeps contain. Good enough lateral agility to play in space and handle the pitch against the option...Flashes an explosive first step, but is largely inconsistent in his initial quickness off the snap...Good weight-room strength, but it doesn't necessarily translate to the field. Plays with leverage, but is inconsistent in his ability to hold up at the point...One of his more intriguing assets. Has good balance and agility to break down in space and make the secure stop against elusive athletes. Brings his hips through the tackle, leading to some impressive hits. Good strength for the drag-down tackle...Some around the USC program question Griffen's work ethic and willingness to do the little things necessary to become great.
Pro Draft Party Video (Griffen is 4:05 to 5:55)
Griffen is a risky prospect but nothing compared to Jason Pierre-Paul. He had an attitude problem at college, but this could be part of the atmosphere of his college. He had good grades in high school and did not have trouble with the law. With the Pro Bowlers surrounding him, he should be able to learn if he wants to.
If the Colts take Griffen, he will be a pass rush specialist and a backup defensive end. His size and speed combination is ridiculous, but I am not sure if it will translate. He has a lot of weaknesses that he will need to fix. Luckily for him, he would not be thrust into a starting position immediately with the Colts. He would be risky, but he could involve into another star.
I am not a huge Griffen fan, but his talent is undeniable. He's a great athlete, but this team needs to get contributors. The window is starting to close, and Peyton needs a couple more rings. Griffen could be great in the future, but he is not what this team needs. If Brandon Graham, Charles Brown, Earl Thomas, Devin McCourty, and other players of the same caliber are gone, then he would be a good pick, but I'm not taking him over someone who could be an immediate starter.