The Indianapolis Colts’ rookies are on the practice field today working during the first day of rookie mini-camp, and included among the 70 players are 18 undrafted free agent signings.
There are always some interesting ones to keep an eye on, and Chris Ballard himself gave three names to be keeping an eye out for. But ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. also added another name that Colts fans should be watching, as he compiled a list of the top 25 UDFAs from around the league to watch and included the Colts’ Garrett Sickels, an outside linebacker out of Penn State. He mentioned that Sickels was ranked 206th overall on Kiper’s final big board, then wrote:
Sickels, who left Penn State with a year of eligibility remaining, had six sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss last season. At 6-3, 261, Sickels is probably an outside linebacker in the Colts' 3-4 scheme, but he was my No. 20 defensive end.
During his three years at Penn State, Sickels played in 39 games (starting 24 of them) and recorded eleven sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. In 2016, he started 12 games and recorded 47 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks.
As I wrote in our look at the Colts’ undrafted free agent signings the other day, it is interesting that Sickels was the only outside linebacker signed among the 18 UDFA signings. That makes him just one of two rookies outside linebackers on the Colts’ roster, joining third round pick Tarell Basham. The Colts also have three outside linebackers in the building on a tryout basis this weekend for rookie mini-camp.
None of those things are indicative of Sickels’ skills as a player, but it does mean that there is certainly room for him to make an impact on the Colts’ roster. The linebacking corps was an area that Chris Ballard knew needed to be addressed this offseason, and he did that. There will be a huge emphasis on competition all over the roster but perhaps especially at the four linebacker spots, including outside where the Colts will be looking for anyone to show that they might be able to get after the quarterback. Garrett Sickels did that some at Penn State as a defensive end, so he should have a chance to show what he can do.
Whether or not he makes the roster is yet to be determined, but Mel Kiper likes the player, and it’s a good situation for him to be in too: on a Colts team desperate for pass rush. He’ll be moving to a 3-4 outside linebacker, but if he’s able to flash potential as a pass rusher then he has a good chance of sticking around as one of the 63 players the Colts decide to keep.