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Who was ... Gilbert Gardner

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Next man up works fine until you bump a Gilbert Gardner into the starting lineup at SAM. So what made the Colts draft him in the third round 0f the 2004 draft and hand him a starting spot in 2006?

POSITIVES: Hard-working yet undersized defender who responded with a terrific senior campaign. Quick to key the action, disciplined and stays with assignments. Alert, displays a fluid change of direction and quick getting to the flanks. Plays sideline-to-sideline and gets depth on pass drops. Solid special teams player who helps out on coverage units.


NEGATIVES: Though he plays faster than his 40 time, still lacks the top size-speed numbers. Slow to shed once engaged with opponents or completely taken out of the action by blocks.

The inability to shed blocks was on display in 2006 with him on the strong side. He didn't show much of the awareness they praise either. SI projected him as a 6th rounder. Polian saw something there, likely quickness and coverage ability. Gardner was unable to hold against the run when the Colts needed him. I still buy the common post-SB, pre-Gilberts release line that he was much better suited for the weakside, but Keiaho was more than ready to be the next man up there and Morris' play on the strong side was great.

Gardner was put at a position he couldn't handle (which the scouting report suggests he'd struggle with) and he wasn't good enough at the position he was suit for.