A former Safety turned Linebacker that excelled at his new position, Khaseem Greene would help the Colts pass defense immediately covering the middle of the field.
The Colts Defense ranked near the bottom of the NFL in most meaningful categories, which means they desperately need an influx of talent, and with few exceptions any position will work for "Best Player Available at Position of Need." One guy with a nasty streak that could step in and help immediately is Khaseem Greene from Rutgers.
Greene, the half brother of Pittsburgh RB Ray Graham, started his career at Rutgers as a Free Safety, playing in all 13 games as a Freshman and starting all 12 games as a Sophomore in the Secondary. He was then asked by his Head Coach Greg Schiano to move to Outside Linebacker in order to get more speed on the field. Here's what Greene said at the Combine about the switch:
At first, I was kind of selfish because I really liked playing safety. So I was like iffy about it. But we came to an agreement. Coach told me to try it for a week. And after the second day I fell in love with it. It was a blessing in disguise for me to go back to linebacker and play linebacker in college.
He definitely fell in love with the Linebacker position. He was the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, totaling 141 tackles, which was 12th nationally, and added in 3.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Not bad for a guy who was playing Safety nine months earlier. Greene had some bad luck with just five minutes to go in their bowl game when he broke his ankle. He seemed fully recovered once the 2012 season started, recording 136 tackles, six sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and two interceptions.
Most people consider him to be a 4-3 WILL Linebacker, but I actually think with his size and strengths would fit nicely as a 3-4 Inside LB, as he obviously is used to playing in coverage. The ability to cover Tight Ends is becoming more and more a prerequisite to playing an Inside LB position in the 3-4, and a former Safety easily fits that description. His biggest weakness will be his ability to play the run, mostly because his body type is virtually maxed out, so he won't be able to get much bigger.
As far as Inside Linebackers go, the Colts are in decent shape, as we can expect Jerrell Freeman to start in 2013 in one of the two spots. After that, however, it's a little more fishy. Pat Angerer is out of position, as he's much more of a 4-3 MLB, and Kavell Conner seems to be the exact opposite to Greene: a guy who is deadly against the run but really struggles in pass coverage. Drafting Greene wouldn't necessarily mean Conner would have to go away, as they could split downs in run/pass situations (I like flexibility).
Greene is being looked at in the 2nd-3rd round range, and probably a little higher than where the Colts pick at #86 overall. Will the Colts move up to take a guy who would definitely be one of the best players available, but not quite at a position of need? We'll find out.
Chase linebacker who takes advantage of open lanes to track ballcarriers behind the line or from behind. Consistently goes for the strip or takes a strong punch at the ball if not wrapping up a leg. Maintains the movement skills of a safety in coverage, proving capable of lining up over tight ends and slot receivers and running deep down the middle third when asked.
Must look healthy this season after recovering from a broken right ankle in the team’s 2011 bowl game. Has a safety build, possessing average height and thinner lower body.
STRENGTHS: Rare athleticism for the position. Possesses the agility and straight-line speed to elude blockers and beat backs to the edge. Showed improved patience and awareness in his second season at linebacker, rarely taking false steps and exploding towards the ball.
WEAKNESSES: Obvious size limitations. Isn't just short; possesses a rocked-up frame that isn't likely to be able to handle much additional weight.
COMPARES TO: Ernie Sims, ILB, Dallas Cowboys -- Possessing great speed, explosiveness and playmaking ability, Sims looked like a future star after being drafted No. 9 overall by the Detroit Lions in 2006. Unfortunately, his size limitations have caught up with him and he's now on his fourth team in as many years.
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