In 2012, the Indianapolis Colts drafted nose tackle Josh Chapman in the fifth round of the draft. After sitting out his rookie season while recovering from injury, he has played in 29 games with the Colts over the past two years, including starting 15 of them in 2014. But it could be, that entering 2015, another fifth round draft pick could take his starting spot.
The Colts drafted David Parry in the fifth round of this year's draft out of Stanford, and he has been impressing early on with the team. He played fantastic in the preseason opener against the Eagles and that earned him some first-team reps in practice last week. That translated to first-team reps in Saturday's preseason game against the Bears. Is there now a competition at the nose tackle between Parry and Chapman? You'd better believe it.
"There's a lot of competition out there," head coach Chuck Pagano said on Monday when asked whether Chapman was still the starter. "So we're going through this preseason and evaluating everybody."
That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of Chapman from his head coach, and neither were general manager Ryan Grigson's comments on 1070 the Fan during training camp. In short, the Colts still need Chapman to step up and show them that he should be their nose tackle. After a 2014 season in which Chapman started but didn't overly impress, the Colts are looking for someone to step up this year. So far, that player has been David Parry.
"David, again coming in this year's draft, just is doing a nice job," Pagano said on Monday. "You get a guy that he's smart, he's tough and he understands the scheme and he plays with really good technique. Got to be better at the point of attack versus double teams. I think it's just a little bit different than the college ball. Not that Dave didn't get doubled and things, it's obviously a little bit different. But similar scheme, so he picked it up fast. He's doing a nice job. He's got good movement skills. He plays square. He plays with heavy hands. He can get some knock ‘em back. When we put him on the move, he's got some quickness and some twitch about him to make some offensive guys miss. He has the ability. He had a chance to make a play in the backfield yesterday and the guy put a little move on him, and that's tough on any d-lineman. But he's progressing well."
Maybe it will be Josh Chapman starting at nose tackle for the Colts this year. Maybe it will be David Parry. At this point, we just don't know. But what we do know is this: Parry is making a strong push for Chapman's starting spot, and it wouldn't be surprising at all to see him win it.