Earlier this week, the Indianapolis Colts signed outside linebacker Alex Bazzie to a reserve/future contract.
It was yet another in a line of signings from the CFL that the Colts have made in the offseason, and they’ve worked to varying degrees of success. Obviously the gold standard is Jerrell Freeman, who would up as a very productive four-year starter for the Colts after being signed out of the CFL. Others, like Duron Carter, never really worked out. In between are guys like Henoc Muamba and Justin Hickman, who both played in a number of games with the Colts but never had large roles.
So what should fans think of the signing of Alex Bazzie? He’s a pass rusher who has had quite a bit of success in the CFL over the last three years with the BC Lions, recording 29 sacks in 50 games played. In 2016, he finished fourth in the CFL with eleven sacks and was an All-Star selection. In 2015 he recorded eight sacks, while in 2014 he notched ten. For a team like the Colts that’s in desperate need of pass rushers, he seems to be a guy worth taking a chance on.
Russ Lande, who is the director of college scouting for the Montreal Alouttes of the CFL, thinks so too. In a terrific piece by 1070 the Fan’s Conrad Brunner, Lande shared some thoughts on Bazzie as a player. Here’s what Lande had to say about him:
“Interesting football player. He’s really well-built and can run and is a highly competitive, tough kid. He’s extremely stiff. He’s a straight-line athlete. He can run and he’s been a good pass-rusher in the CFL. He’s got quickness off the ball, knows how to use his hands. He’s never going to be a real powerful kid because he struggles to get down and rush with leverage but he has some unique skills and he competes. If he gets stopped with his first push, he keeps coming and coming. At his size, his ability to run and his willingness to hit, he could probably be a good player on [special] teams for the Colts.”
So what are Lande’s thoughts on the Colts signing Bazzie?
“I think it’s a good signing. He’s one of the best [pass-rushers] in the CFL. He’s also one of the younger guys, so he’s a guy you want to take a shot on. He’s a good guy to take a chance on. I’d put his odds at 50-50 to make the team or the practice roster.”
Again, I’d encourage you to check out the entire piece, because it’s all worth a read and Bruno does a great job. But this article is especially helpful in giving fans a sense of what to expect from Bazzie straight from a guy who knows what he’s talking about, and Lande thinks it’s a good signing by the Colts. At the very least, it sounds like Bazzie could have a chance to earn a special teams role - he made eight special teams tackles in the CFL - or on the practice squad for the Colts to keep working with him.
Ideally, the Colts will add plenty other pass rushers this offseason, but even in that case Bazzie could be a guy to keep an eye on. We know that guys transitioning from the CFL to the NFL don’t always work out, and we’ve seen very clearly in the Ryan Grigson regime that these project players are never a sure thing. But with the rosters soon expanding to 90 players and with the Colts in such a dire need of pass rushers, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this signing. And Bazzie will likely be considered a guy to keep an eye on this offseason and into training camp as we’re interested in seeing what he can do.