Now, we all know I don't have the same kind of insider info available as the guys at Coltpower do. In all seriousness, I could go and ask them if Indy has worked out (or inquired about) Carlton Powell, but if I did I could not write up what I was told because it would violate trust. As annoying as it is, Coltpower makes its money off paid subscriptions to their content. If I took that content and posted it here, I'd be in big trouble. So, knowing that, it is more my instinct that the Colts are looking at Powell rather than my insider knowledge.
So, why Powell?
Well, for starters, he doesn't seem to have the same kinds of serious character flaws guys like Lionel Dotson and Letroy Guion have. DTs tend to slide in drafts more because of character flaws than any other position player. Look at Ed Johnson. He was, arguably, one of the best rookies of 2007 overall. Guys like Alan Branch (second round) did not perform as well as Big Ed, who went undrafted in 2007 mainly because of character issues (issues that have seemingly been sorted out). But unlike Big Ed, guys like Guion (guilty of academic cheating) have about as much a chance of making the Colts roster in 2008 as I do. A guy like Powell, who experienced the after affects of the Virginia Tech shootings last season, character concerns are not the reason he will likely slide to the late rounds or go under drafted entirely.
Carlton Powell strikes me as another Ed Johnson-type of guy. He seems to do everything "well" but is not AMAZING at any one particular aspect of the game. He isn't lightening quick as a DT. He isn't a gigantic space-eater, able to engulf five o-linemen. He isn't a sack artists, ala Warren Sapp in 1995. He's just a guy with a very long list of good things from his NFL Combine appearance. Yet, despite this long list of good things (and a short list of negatives) he will likely get drafted in rounds 4-7, if at all.
Indeed, it's a real head scratcher.
Now again, I'm basing this off my reading various mock draft sites, and even though many of them are great, they are not an accurate reflection of what actual teams are thinking. The most accurate one is New Era Scouting, and no I'm not saying that because they work with SB Nation. Last season, New Era was the only site I saw that had Quinn Pitcock and Tony Ugoh going to the Colts. They also said Gonzalez would get drafted by Indy. Matt Miller is pretty sharp when it comes to evaluating who likes whom, and I'm not betting against him this year. Matt's most recent mock draft has Powell going in round 6, and he ranks him near the bottom of the DTs available in this draft. Yet, for the life of me, I cannot understand why people do not think more highly of this guy, because all I read are gushing reviews:
Has effective swim-and-rip ability and good suddenness off the ball and he is more of a power-oriented type than one who would finesse...Does a good job of keeping eye contact on the quarterback to provide containment (see 2007 Clemson, Florida State and Miami and 2006 Cincinnati, Southern Mississippi and Kent State games) and has developed efficient spin moves to counter and pull away from double-team activity...Plays with good instincts, awareness and recognition, as it is rare to see him bite on play action or misdirection...Has a good feel for blocks and when he plants his feet in the ground, even double teams struggle to contain him.
Powell's other strengths are his motor, instincts, and awareness. It's one thing to be smart. It's another to be football smart, and Powell seems to have those smarts. At 6'2, 300 pounds he is ideally suited for the Tampa 2 DT position. If you want to know why guys like Shaun Rogers suck playing in a Tampa 2 scheme (other than the fact that he's a lazy punk), it's because he's too big to play in it. Teams that use a Cover 2 (or Tampa 2 or Dungy 2 or whatever they like to call it) scheme usually require their DTs to shed weight and bulk rather than gain. As dominant as the Williams guys are in Minnesota, it's no secret that they wear down during the season, and because they are so big they rarely, if ever, generate a pass rush. They dominate against the run, but if you spread the Vikings out (as the Patriots did in 2006), they are helpless because the Williams guys cannot penetrate through the o-line and pressure the QB.
Powell seems to have the tools to do this. As a run stuffer he receives high marks, but I was surprised when I read that he has impressive pass rushing skills:
Update [2008-4-10 15:23:40 by BigBlueShoe]: Ok, we have confirmation from Carlton Powell himself that the Colts have indeed expressed interest in him. Can I pick'em or WHAT!