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NFL Combine 2017: Colts-centered Saturday notebook

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at the top storylines from Saturday at the NFL Combine, from a Colts’ perspective:

Colts meeting with prospects

The Colts can formally meet with 60 prospects this week, and we’ve found out a handful of them. Today, we have some more to add to the list:

Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio

Davon Godchaux, DT, LSU

Raekwon McMillian, LB, Ohio State

Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

Thomas was asked about his impression of the Colts from his interview:

“They’re awesome. Coach Pagano’s awesome. It was really nice to be in there and talk with the coaches and the linebackers coach. I was really happy to be in there. It was awesome to be in their presence.”

40-yard dash record set - by a guy who tries to emulate T.Y. Hilton

One of the most noteworthy stories of the day from the NFL Combine on Saturday was Washington wide receiver John Ross running a 4.22 40-yard dash - setting a new record for the fastest time in Combine history. The previous record of 4.24 belonged to Chris Johnson in 2008, but Ross broke that today.

An interesting thing about Ross is that when he spoke with the media yesterday, he mentioned current Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton as a guy he tries to emulate. He’s been training with Desean Jackson and was asked about that, as well as what other NFL receivers he tries to emulate - and he mentioned Brandin Cooks and T.Y. Hilton.

For comparison’s sake, Hilton ran a 4.34 40.

Oh, and speaking of Ross, Colts defensive back Darius Butler had a good idea: make sure you have deep help when covering him.

Solomon Thomas on Henry Anderson, David Parry, and Andrew Luck

Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas is viewed as a first round pick, and as already mentioned he’s met with the Colts this week. As he’s been preparing for the draft, however, he’s talked to Colts defensive linemen - and former Stanford linemen - Henry Anderson and David Parry. “Yes sir,” he said. “I’ve been talking to Henry and David and they’ve helped me along this process. Just trying to get some information from them and get some advice.” But is he similar to Anderson? “If you looked at our bodies, yes. But I’m going to let my play [show a difference].”

Thomas was never at Stanford while Andrew Luck was there - Thomas was a freshman in 2014 when Luck was in his third season with the Colts - but he was nonetheless filled with a ton of praise for the Colts’ quarterback when asked about Luck. “Andrew is an amazing man,” he said. “He comes back [to Stanford]. He knows the freshmen’s names he didn’t even play with. He knows people who are visiting. He’s one of the best men I know. He comes back and just tries to pour into the guys and is always open to talk to and very approachable. He’s amazing.”

Myles Garrett is a Peyton Manning fan

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, who is viewed as the consensus top prospect in this year’s draft, was asked about which current NFL quarterback he’d most like to sack. His answer? “Tom Brady.” The reason? “I’m a Peyton Manning fan.”

He’s a smart guy.

Dallas Clark back in Indianapolis helping the tight ends

A familiar face to Colts fans is back in Indianapolis this week at the Combine, and he’s helping out this year’s tight end class. Dallas Clark, who spent nine terrific seasons with the Colts and eleven seasons in the NFL total, has been working with the tight ends this week and was present with them today for the on-field drills too.

“Yeah, it’s a thing that the NFL Legends group does,” Clark explained to “They’ve done it for three years now; bring back former players, one for each position to kind of just, mentoring? I don’t know if that’s the right word. But just really be a tool to use if they have any questions, if there’s any concerns, anything that they want to bounce off of me, and so I’m excited. I’ll be with them for the first time - second time, I’m sorry - here with the bench, and then tomorrow all day with their on-field performance. So I’m excited to get to know them and to learn about them and to hear what their concerns are, just kind of see see their mentality of the process and see if there’s any ways I can help them out.”

Clark is a good one to learn from. In nine years with the Colts, he caught 427 passes for 4,887 yards and 46 touchdowns after being drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Clark was as dangerous as any receiving threat in the NFL in 2009, when he caught 100 passes for 1,106 yards and ten touchdowns en route to being named a first-team All-Pro.

Tight ends have historic Combine

Speaking of the tight ends, this year’s class is a very good one, and that was on display yet again during today’s work at the Combine. The average 40-yard dash time among the tight ends was 4.66, which was the fastest for any tight end group at the Combine since 2003. Five of the top seven and seven of the top fourteen 40-yard dash times for tight ends at the Combine in the last five years were run today. Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram had the third-fastest 40-yard dash time for a tight end since 2003. And three different tight ends (Bucky Hodges, David Njoku, and George Kittle) broke the previous Combine record for the broad jump among tight ends. Quite the impressive day for a tight end class that already had a lot of hype.

Tim Williams addresses off-the-field concerns

Alabama EDGE rusher Tim Williams is one of the most intriguing pass rush prospects in this year’s draft and is a guy that a number of Colts fans have interest in. There are some off-the-field questions about the talented pass rusher, however, and today he acknowledged that he has failed some drug tests in the past - though he said he’s learned from those mistakes and is owning them.

“Oh, yeah. I have failed some,” he said. “I’m a young player. I made decisions that I grew from. It’s all about being a man, owning up to your situations, owning up to your mistakes. I’m not here laughing around joking. I know I’ve got something to prove. I’m obviously behind the 8-ball so I’m here to prove not only to myself but to every organization that if they take me, they’re going to get the best player here.”