This spring, the Indianapolis Colts pulled a surprising move and released long-snapper, Matt Overton. Normally, people wouldn’t care. However, Overton had ingrained himself into the Indianapolis community and become a fan favorite. While you hardly ever if at all saw a wild snap, Overton’s 32 years of age put him on the chopping block.
During a brief period of time following Overton’s release, the Colts leaned on an unlikely candidate to perform long-snapping duties during OTA’s: second-year inside linebacker Luke Rhodes.
The Colts did not need Rhodes there for long, signing undrafted free agent Thomas Hennessy to take over shortly after releasing Overton. However, the Colts now know that they have somebody who can long-snap in the instance of the rare long-snapper injury, or if they just don’t like what Hennessy brings to the table.
While Rhodes faces an awfully unlucky battle for a roster spot solely as a linebacker, special teams is almost always the deciding factor in tough roster cut decisions. Not only is Rhodes capable of long-snapping in a pinch, but he is on the punt and kickoff teams as well. Also, he looks like he could snap a ball to Jupiter.
When're we making a "Luke Rhodes' Arms" Twitter account? pic.twitter.com/o84QeJfLGM— Jake Arthur (@JakeArthurNFL) May 26, 2017
Coming into the 2016 NFL Draft, Rhodes was actually a respectable prospect coming out of William & Mary. As an FCS prospect, he was projected to be a seventh-round pick or priority free agent. He is not the fastest guy (4.71 forty) but has decent athleticism overall. Basically, if he played in the FBS for a power-five conference, he probably would have been a Day 3 pick.
Rhodes is definitely somebody who deserves a chance throughout this training camp and preseason. Something about him -- from the limited action we saw him in last year and knowing what his potential was coming into the NFL -- has me thinking that he could be a very valuable piece for the Colts on special teams coverage.
While for now, this is all just a concept, I will definitely keep my eye on him as I finally make my way to the Colts’ complex for camp practices.