Colts fans are no obsessed with Indy's new "mystery" tackle, a guy no one drafted but many are talking about: Eric Foster out of Rutgers. For many of you, you thought Indy should have signed or drafted someone like Howard's Rudolph Hardie, a 6'1, 270 pound DT. Hardie (signed by Detroit) offered speed and pass rushing ability from the DT position, something Indy has not had since Booger McFarland got hurt last year. For you Hardie lovers, I get the feeling you will like the potential Eric Foster offers.
Foster, like Hardie, is roughly 6'1 and 277 pounds and is known as a pass rusher from the DT position.
Not much is written on Hardie in terms of scouting reports. In the draft, he went as "experts" though he would: Undrafted. But Foster signed with a team that likes undersized d-linemen, and will give undrafted rookies a fair chance. The one scouting report I found said this:
Excellent quickness...Is pretty strong...Offers a lot of versatility...Has a terrific first step...Does a nice job in pursuit...Relentless with a non-stop motor...Nice instincts and awareness...Good athleticism...Nice production...A hard worker...Team leader.
The team lader part cannot be over-stated. Foster was the glue that held the 2007 Rutgers team together, and he was a big part of Rutgers' resurgence as a significant college football program. Here's a taste of Foster;s outspoken leadership at Rutgers:
Eric Foster Locker Room Chant (via biglou77)
The familiar "weaknesses" we see applied to players like Foster are he's too small and not bulky enough. However, consider last year's 7th round pick out of Texas A & M: DE Keyunta Dawson. Key was drafted weighing 270 pounds. We all assumed he would play DE, and Dawson was converted to DT and excelled at the position in 2007. Remember this from SB Nation's Texas Tech blogger?
Strengths: I've always loved Dawson's motor, he is a tireless worker, and understands that you can't take off any plays. Despite double teams, Dawson was still a very moderately effective pass rusher. In 2005 Dawson only had 2.5 sacks, but had 62 tackles. In 2006 Dawson was much more effective where he had 63 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 6.0 sacks and 11.0 quarterback hurries. Dawson's 40 time (4.76) is comparable with other defensive ends in this draft: Gaines Adams ( 4.64), Jamaal Anderson (4.75), Adam Carriker (4.9), Jarvis Moss (4.7), and Anthony Spencer (4.73). His general quickness in comparison to his size will be his greatest attributes, and would think that the Indy coaching staff would simply allow Dawson to be a rush end in the same mold as Freeney. Dawson is a better than average athlete which would allow him to make plays, as a defensive end, but maybe not athletic enough to play linebacker.
Amazing how similar Dawson sounds compared to Foster. In college, Foster had 6 sacks in 2006 and 7 in 2007. Foster has impressed Colts coaches at both the rookie and mandatory minicamps, and if he can display his talents at Training Camp, there will be a place on the 53-man roster for him.
Foster (like Ed Johnson, Keyunta Dawson, and Quinn Pitcock) might be another Bill Polian gem at DT.