Ya got me, but the internet sure knows. Unless you've been living under a rock the past couple days, you have most likely heard that the Colts recently signed two more interior lineman, Kyle DeVan and Brandon Barnes. The information on this guy is spread everywhere. So to save you the hassle, I'll do a good run through and get you caught up on who these guys are one by one. First up: Kyle DeVan.
Experience: 3 year starter
Kyle DeVan is an alumni of Oregon State University. DeVan was redshirted as a freshman, and broke into the starting lineup in his sophomore year, and continued to start for 38 straight games. He was projected as an UDFA from day one, which ended up being the case as the Redskins signed him two days after the draft. The Redskins ended up cutting him in July and he was signed shortly after by the Jets. His stay in New York didn't last long as he was waived during the final roster cut at the end of August.
After playing a game for the Boise Burn, an arena football team, he worked out for the Colts on Monday, April 20th, and was signed the very next day. Apparently Polian liked what he saw. It was pretty difficult tracking down reliable scouting reports on this guy, but from what I read, there were a lot of positives about this guy:
DeVan is a tough-nosed center with solid balance and a sound understanding for the game. He can pull and trap block with effectiveness, and he displays an impressive awareness under center while making line calls. DeVan is also a durable lineman who has shown the intelligence and smarts to project as a pro prospect. His shorter arms and inability to knock defenders off their blocks are definite downsides, and he does not exhibit much agility or athletic strength in space. DeVan put on a lot of weight in college and maintaining that mass could be an issue, something that speaks to his relatively low physical upside.
And from SI:
POSITIVES: Quick, explosive position blocker with a terrific head for the game. Immediately gets into blocks, quick out to the second level, and seals defenders from the action. Blocks with good pad level, stays square, and effectively fights with his hands. Plays with a nasty attitude and does an outstanding job quarterbacking the offensive line.
NEGATIVES: Undersized and not a dominant blocker who gets a lot of movement in the middle of the field. Slow to shed blocks and not a big, strong, sturdy defender. More of a chase-and-run-down defender than a linebacker who forces the action. Has growth limitations.
Not unlike most of the players the Colts sign, DeVan is considered "undersized" for his position, even though there is a certain center who plays for a certain team who just so happens to be a future Hall of Famer, but who cares right? Aside from that one knock, he seems to encompass everything that Howard Mudd looks for in a lineman.
In my research, I dug up a very interesting interview with Kyle prior to the 2008 draft. In the interview, Kyle was asked who his favorite NFL center is. Makes sense, he is a center, obviously he likes the position he plays, and I'm sure being a center makes you intrigued as to how others perform at your position. The thing that I find most fascinating about his answer is, he could have picked any center in the history of the league, but he didn't. He picked our very own Jeff Saturday:
David: Who is your favorite NFL center?
Kyle: Jeff Saturday from the Colts. I think he’s a tremendous technician and is about the same size as me.
I'm sold, how about you?
But seriously, the question that I'm sure is popping up in everyone's head is, "Why another center?" And to be quite honest, that's a beautiful looking question. However, it's one that I can't answer. The first thing I thought when I heard the news of DeVan and Barnes being signed was Lilja is a goner. And that's still a possiblity considering the Colts now have 5 players to fill 2 starting spots. Lilja's injuries are becoming a problem, but my question is, why would the Colts re-structure Lilja's contract if they just planned on signing another player (or two)? Something just isn't adding up here. Maybe the Colts plan on converting one or two of them to play tackle. DeVan did play tackle for 3 years in high school, but he also played defensive end as well, so I don't think that's going to hold much water.
The good news is, the Colts' interior line is looking pretty damn good. It's the guys on the outside that we have to worry about now.