Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been making the rounds this week. Yesterday, he was personally in attendance at Alabama's pro day, and then today he was at Clemson's pro day.
According to the Charlotte Observer's Joe Person, Pagano was among a group of four head coaches attending, in addition to the Bengals' Marvin Lewis, the Steelers' Mike Tomlin, and the Bills' Rex Ryan. The Independent Mail's Dan Hope noted that Pagano seemed to be "keeping a close eye" on defensive end Shaq Lawson, defensive end Kevin Dodd, defensive tackle D.J. Reader, and defensive tackle Rod Byers. According to ESPN's Mike Wells, Chuck Pagano had a 10-15 minute conversation with cornerback Mackensie Alexander following the pro day, and that was after Alexander had talked with two members of the Colts' staff as well.
There are several intriguing prospects for NFL teams from Clemson, as they may potentially have three first round picks in Alexander, Lawson, and Dodd. For the Colts, they likely would want to know whether Lawson and Dodd could play as a 3-4 outside linebacker in their system rather than a 4-3 defensive end, and that could be one of the primary reasons for Pagano paying close attention to those players today. Since they'd be changing systems if they were drafted by Indianapolis, Pagano may have been looking to see if there were any indications on how they might translate.
The report about Pagano having a conversation with Alexander is particularly interesting, however, especially in light of the report that the team met with him at the NFL Combine as well. The Colts are clearly in need of a number two cornerback to play alongside Vontae Davis, as they are letting Greg Toler walk in free agency and D'Joun Smith is unproven. Darius Butler is best suited in the slot, as we've seen made clear in recent years, so he's not an option. At this point it would be Smith, but the team would surely like to add a starter at the position. Mackensie Alexander would provide that and would give the Colts the opportunity to pair two very talented cornerbacks on their defense while letting both Smith and Butler spend time in the slot. It would be a good pick for the Colts; the only question is whether Alexander will still be available at pick number 18. At this point, though, it seems the Colts definitely have interest in him.