Potential Undrafted Free Agents the Indianapolis Colts Might be Interested In

Now that the dust has settled from the NFL draft, it's time to look at potential undrafted free agents who could make the roster and really contribute next year. While this year's Colts draft was one of our finest in recent memory, the Colts still have holes and could still use play makers at key positions. Last week BBS wrote an article "2011 Undrafted Players: Who the Colts Might be Looking At." Of course we have no idea who the Colts are interested in as the lockout prevents teams from contacting players or agents, however below are six guys who the Colts should at least consider offering a free agent contract to once a new CBA is (hopefully) reached.

Oregon wide receiver: Jeffery Maehl

Clemson strong safety: Deandre McDaniel

Texas offensive tackle: Kyle Hix

UCLA kicker: Kai Forbath

Fort Valley State return specialist: Ricardo Lockette

Boston College linebacker:  Mark Herzlich

Breakdowns and reasons why they could help the Colts after the jump.

By taking BC offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, Villanova guard/tackle Ben Ijalana and LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis with their first three respective picks, the Colts turned their two biggest weaknesses - offensive line and defensive tackle - into potential strengths.

For a team with few other glaring vulnerabilities, the Colts are now in pretty good shape. Still, as the Packers (and to some extent the Colts) demonstrated last season, if you want to win in this league you need depth. The guys listed above could help the Colts with just that by providing the Colts with standout and experienced collegiate athletes who could step up should injury strike again.

Oregon wide receiver: Jeffery Maehl

One of those players is Oregon's Jeffery Maehl. While on paper wide receiver may be the Colts most loaded position, Colts' fans know just how deceiving such a claim really is. Anthony Gonzalez is never healthy and Austin Collie is still recovering from three major concussions from last season. If the Colts decide to part ways with the perennially fragile Gonzalez, then suddenly depth would become an issue. Blair White filled in admirably but he is a last resort at best.

This past season Jeffery Maehl was one of the centerpieces of college football's most explosive offense. Last year at Oregon he tied the school record for 77 catches to go along with 12 touchdown receptions. While playing on the outside in college, Maehl could be a perfect slot receiver as well as he is shifty and elusive and runs crisp routes. Many scouts projected Maehl as a fourth round selection so to see him go undrafted was quite surprising. If Gonzalez is cut or the Colts decide they can carry another receiver on the roster, they should turn to Maehl to fill that need.

Clemson strong safety: Deandre McDaniel

Another player who should draw significant interest not only from the Colts but many other teams as well is Clemson safety Deandre McDaniel. In 2009 McDaniel finished second in the nation with nine interceptions. After a down year the strong safety was still a projected third round prospect but went undrafted mainly because of injury concerns due to a fractured wrist. Nevertheless, with Bob Sanders gone and with the Colts failing to really address the position, McDaniel could be the ideal backup to Melvin Bullitt.

Texas offensive tackle: Kyle Hix

At 6'7 and 319, Kyle Hix is a beast and a guy who would fit in perfectly with the Colts desire to beef up their offensive line. Even though the Colts selected Castonzo to be their future left tackle in the first round, signing Hix to a contract as a backup wouldn't be such a bad idea. For one, Hix was a dominant left tackle for Texas, a powerhouse school Big 12 school. After starting 11 games at tackle this past season, the only reason Hix dropped out of the draft was because of his decision to undergo knee surgery beforehand. Secondly, while the Colts really upgraded their line in the draft, questions still remain as to who will fill in as backups and even who will start at right tackle. If Diem retires or is cut as many expect, the Colts will have a continued question mark at right tackle. Even if he Hix isn't ready to start, being able to turn to him in case of injury would be a nice luxury to have.

UCLA kicker: Kai Forbath

It's strange, possibly treasonous, to talk about bringing in a kicker when Adam Vinatieri, one of the greatest kickers of all time, is still going strong. But at 38 and in the final year of his contract, the Colts have to start preparing for life after the four time Super Bowl winning place kicker.

If a roster spot is available, the Colts should consider taking a flier on Kai Forbath who was widely considered to be the top kicking prospect in the draft and a guy who has been dubbed "special" and a "future pro-bowler." With injuries to Vinatieri in the past, the Colts have had to rely on mid-season free agent signings before. Why not allow Vinatieri to mentor and groom Forbath for the future instead?

Of course this depends on whether or not the Colts can finally survive a season relatively injury free as keeping to kickers on the roster is incredibly rare.

Fort Valley State return specialist: Ricardo Lockette

Once again the Colts have failed to address their terrible special teams play, most notably the return game. To dismiss special teams as irrelevant (which the Colts have evidently done by not addressing the position for the 234th year in a row) is nonsense. Take a guy like Taj Smith. He nearly single-handedly won the game for the Colts against Dallas on special teams and did so blocking a punt. Imagine how much more potent the Colts' offense would be if they weren't starting on their own 3 yard line every other possession. Imagine how much better the defense would be if McAfee wasn't forced to punt from inside his own 20 thus giving the opposing teams fantastic field position. Why not gamble on an electric return specialist like Lockette? The guy can't do much else, but besides seeming like an upstanding individual in several interviews, he also ran a 4.34 (4.26 low) in the 40 yard dash at the Combine.

Boston College linebacker:  Mark Herzlich

Yet again this is another position that adding depth would be a luxury and not a pressing need. The Colts are lucky in this regard in that of all the positions of the players above mentioned, only a lack of depth at safety is of major concern.

Adding Mark Herzlich however has much more to do with adding an incredibly high character guy to the locker room than with the position that he plays. Herzlich is not only a winner on the field he has also overcome incredibly adversary off it. Herzlich missed the entire 2009 season due to Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, which he overcame to once again return to the football field. Besides being a standout linebacker, he earned numerous honors and awards for his courage and outreach.

After surviving and defeating the rare cancer, Herzlich returned to the team starting all 13 games his senior season and finishing with 65 total tackles. He was also tied for first on the team with two forced fumbles and second on the team with four interceptions and four pass break ups. While for some reason that wasn't good enough to convince scouts he was truly healthy, the Colts would be stupid not to actively recruit and sign a guy like Herzlich. For one, he could provide depth at the linebacking position, a group which while promising, is still young and inexperienced. However even just having a leader like Herzlich on special teams would do wonders for the unit and the team.

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