As a Colts fan I am really pleased with the moves the front office has made both before and during the season. Hats off to Ryan Grigson and his staff of talent seekers who have done more in 3 months than most GMs do in 3 years. That's the sign of a GM who knows how to take the bull by the horns. Even though most of the rookies and 1st year Colts players have been very impressive, the player I've been waiting to see is the return of this year's 5th round pick Josh Chapman. With most of the attention and headlines focused on rookie sensation Andrew Luck, little attention has been paid to the rookie DT out of Alabama due in part to his injured Knee. Now that he's healthy, it looks like Chapman is going to get the chance to show what he can do.
Even though he was drafted in the 5th round, make no mistake, Josh Chapman is a late 1st round to early second round talent. If he had not been injured last year, that's about where he would have been drafted. The hybrid 3-4 defense the Colts are now playing requires the kind of players up front and in the middle who can move the pile. Some of the best defensive teams in the league run the hybrid 3-4. To get on the level of a Baltimore or Pittsburgh defense you need someone who's nasty in the middle like Haloti Ngata, or Casey Hampton. You need guys who have to be accounted for on every play which will free up your LBers and in our case DEs Freeney and Mathis. Mathis and Freeney have never had a NT to play with who could provide pressure up the middle which would essentially destroy the pocket of their opponents in leaving the QB no pocket to step up into. A QB in that scenario would have no choice but to go left or right and into the waiting arms of either Freeney or Mathis. If any of you have been wondering why the Colts have been so high on Chapman here's a quote from Ryan Grigson in an interview he did with Bob Kravitz of the Indystar:
"(Defensive coordinator) Greg (Manusky) just came back to my office and showed me a play where Chapman took on a 340-pound guard on the practice squad and just tossed him like he wasn’t there,’’ Grigson said. “He’s got rare power. And he’s an angry man. He relishes the dirtiness and nastiness of playing the position.’’
If that's not enough to get you salivating over the possibilities of how good this defense can be I don't know what will. Josh Chapman is going to be a cog for this defense. He might not be the final piece to the puzzle, but he's definitely the "missing link" that will take the defense to another level.