Former Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman is a ginormous wild card for the 2013 Indianapolis Colts.
After sitting out the entire 2012 regular season, slowly recovering from an ACL injury that he played through for the 2011 national champion Crimson Tide, Chapman told media on Wednesday at the Colts practice facility that he is healthy and chomping at the bit:
It feels good being back out there with the guys. It's been a long time since I've been able to be here with everybody. I'm able to do everything with them now. It's that next step.
So, what's the next step?
We're priding ourselves in trying to be a Top 5 defense. Right now, we want to stop the run. We're priding ourselves on that, and I pride myself on being a nose guard.
Of the 10 picks Indianapolis had in last year's draft, Chapman was one of only two players on defense taken. Neither defensive player saw action during the regular season. Chapman was drafted in the 5th round last year, and at 6'0, 316 lb., the Colts view him as the consistent, starting interior nose tackle that haven't had since... well, since ever.
However, just because Chapman says he's healthy now doesn't really mean anything. Obviously, it's great to hear him say he feels healthy, and we are certainly rooting for him to succeed. However, if the Colts had total and complete faith in Chapman's health, why'd they sign Aubrayo Franklin via free agency?
When all is said and done, fans have to feel better about the defensive tackle rotation in 2013. Last season, Ryan Grigson did not do enough to address this critical area of Chuck Pagano's defense, and the result was a run D that allowed 5.1 yards-a-carry. This year, the Colts have Franklin, Chapman, and (hopefully) a healthy Brandon McKinney.
Not bad. Not bad at all.