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Scouting Notebook: Another weekly look at prospects around College Football

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NCAA Football: Syracuse at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts just completed their fourth straight victory by thrashing the Tennessee Titans 38-10 at home. Things are looking up for the team as they still have their sights set on a playoff berth. With all the positivity surrounding the team, I’m sure the last thing anybody wants to hear about is the draft right? Well, don’t worry because I still got you all covered with a few prospects that may intrigue the Colts come April.

This week’s guest evaluator is my good friend Anthony Licciardi from WhatsondraftNFL.com and Breaking Football. Anthony is an excellent young evaluator with a keen eye for talent so I recommend all of you to follow his work on those sites. Without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s Scouting Notebook.


Paddy Fisher, LB (6’4” 241)

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Wisconsin Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

Background

Fisher has been a standout in his two years at Northwestern. A tackling machine, Fisher has transformed the Wildcats’ defense in his two years since joining the team. As just a redshirt sophomore, Fisher still has room to grow as a player as well. For his two year career, Fisher has tallied 199 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 5 pass deflections, and 7 forced fumbles.

Anthony Licciardi’s Analysis

A “mike” linebacker at Northwestern, Fisher has the instincts and physical traits to transition smoothly to any off-ball linebacker spot. He’s a high motor player, a field general, and a playmaker in both coverage and against the run. Tackles well and has impressive play strength to counteract a lack of elite athletic attributes. Shoots gaps well and has the mental processing skills any coach would love to work with. Can certainly make an impact on special teams as well, increasing his value if he doesn’t start day one.

Film Review

Fisher (#42) here sheds the block in the hole and makes the tackle in tight space.

Fisher comes downhill fast and makes the big stop in the backfield.

Fisher strafes down the field and sheds a block en route to forcing a fumble on the receiver.

Fit with the Colts

Fisher is a true Mike linebacker who could vastly improve the Colts’ defense. Anthony Walker has done an admirable job at that position and is one of the top run defenders in football, but his discipline is not great for the position. If the Colts want a true Mike linebacker to pair with Darius Leonard at the Will, then Fisher can be the guy. If the Colts decide to take Fisher, a trio with Walker at the Sam position and Leonard at the Will could be one of the speedier units in the league. Add Fisher as the reliable, smart Mike and that is a trio that can succeed for a long time.


Dexter Lawrence, DL (6’4” 340)

NCAA Football: Duke at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Background

The former number two overall prospect in the country, Lawrence has put together a solid career for the Clemson Tigers. Taking up the middle on one of the top defensive lines in college football, Lawrence has been a force since his freshman year with the team. For his career, Lawrence has 123 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and 3 fumble recoveries.

Anthony Licciardi’s Analysis

A 3-Tech at the next level, Lawrence would be a beneficial addition to the Colts defensive front. He is a force to be reckoned with against the run as he consistently flaunts his ability to shed blocks, manipulate gaps, and simply overpower opposing offensive linemen. His combination of play strength and technique helps him aid the pass rush at a surprising rate. The Clemson star’s size is undeniable, but when you throw in his mental processing and competitive toughness, you find a day one starter with room to grow.

Film Review

Lawrence (#90) collapses the pocket from the interior and closes in on Lamar Jackson for the sack.

A stout run defender, Lawrence clogs the run lane and makes the easy tackle for a loss.

Showing his athletic potential when he was a freshman, Lawrence makes a quick move and buries the quarterback with a huge hit.

Fit with the Colts

The Colts desperately need more defensive lineman up front. Chris Ballard has done a nice job in adding talented edge rushers in Jabaal Sheard, Kemoko Turay, and Tyquan Lewis. Now they need to generate an inside rush in order to have one of the better pass rushes in the league. Lawrence is not a great pass rusher right now but he has all the potential in the world to develop into one. There are not many players with his combination of size and athleticism in the league. He can immediately start with his run stuffing ability and develop into a stout pass rusher from the inside.


Martez Ivey, OL (6’5” 305)

NCAA Football: Florida at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Background

Ivey could bring Joe Haeg-esq ability to the Colts’ offensive line. A former five star recruit for the Florida Gators, Ivey has moved all over the offensive line in his collegiate career. Ivey has played in 36 games in his career while starting 21 of them at left guard and 10 at left tackle. Ivey has been named Second Team All-SEC twice now in his career and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team as a freshman.

Anthony Licciardi’s Analysis

Ivey possesses a blend of traits that make him desirable for a multitude of teams. His versatility and well-rounded skill set make him an option at any spot on the line, and he can step in serviceably as both a pass and run blocker. He is raw in his technique, but he can maneuver his way upfield with ease, making him a catalyst for breakout runs. Better as a guard due to some pass blocking inconsistencies along with his adequate athleticism and strength. Pulls exceptionally well, moves well for his size, and is able to recalibrate after being on the move. Quality sixth lineman to serve as ample depth for an unequivocally improved offensive line.

Film Review

Ivey (LT#73) makes a nice initial block and then is able to work back in the play and protect his quarterback from behind.

Ivery— now playing LG— pulls here across the line and opens up the hole for the running back.

Fit with the Colts

The Colts have done an excellent job building their young offensive line to protect Andrew Luck. The next step now is to bring in some quality depth up front to round out the unit. Joe Haeg appears to be a player worth keeping as he has the versatility to play all five positions across the line. Ivey is very similar in this regard. Ivey can line up as a tackle or as a guard and is very effective at both spots. For a league that regularly dresses seven lineman on gamedays, having a player like Ivey with effective multi-positional versatility is huge. Ivey would simply complete the offensive line for the Colts.


Antoine Brooks Jr, SAF (5’11” 210)

NCAA Football: Illinois at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Background

A former Quarterback in high school and linebacker in his early days at Maryland, Brooks has found a home at safety. Brooks has played a ton of positions for Maryland’s defense which includes nickel corner, safety, and linebacker. He is also a big time special teams contributor which just adds to his versatility. For his career, Brooks has tallied 144 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 pass deflections.

Anthony Licciardi’s Analysis

Brooks is another prospect in which his value is derived from his versatility. His play strength and ball skills allow him to operate in the slot, on the line, or over the top, though he doesn’t look to be elite at any particular spot. Wide-ranging skill set includes the ability to manipulate the quarterback while in coverage, incredible positioning skills, and average angles against the run. A jack-of-all-trades, he can fill a number of roles on defense and special teams, even without the starting nod.

Film Review

Brooks (#25) makes a good, sound tackle in space and lifts the receiver up before driving him to the ground.

Brooks lays out the receiver on the screen pass here. Excellent read and break on the ball.

Fit with the Colts

I know it hasn’t been talked about much but the Colts have a need at safety for next season. With Clayton Geathers and Mike Mitchell both set to become free agents and Matthias Farley coming off a season ending injury, the Colts could stand to add another player on the backend. Adding a guy like Brooks could be a great pairing with Malik Hooker. A guy with versatility to play both deep safety and nickel corner is so sought after in the NFL and it would give the Colts a lot more scheme versatility in the secondary. Adding a physical, run stuffing safety with versatility is a great need for the Colts.


Way Too Early Colts Top 30 Big Board

So since this Scouting Notebook is a few days late from the normal day I publish it, I decided to throw in my top 30 players for the Colts in the 2019 draft. This is a Colts centered big board so the only positions that will show up on here are RB, WR, DL, Edge, LB, CB, and S. Note that this is my first ranking of players this year and a lot will change before the draft in April.

1.) Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State

2.) Quinnen Williams, IDL, Alabama

3.) Ed Oliver, IDL, Houston

4.) Jeffrey Simmons, IDL, Mississippi State

5.) Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

6.) Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

7.) Raekwon Davis, IDL, Alabama

8.) Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida

9.) Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama

10.) Devin White, ILB, LSU

11.) Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

12.) Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

13.) Gerald Willis, IDL, Miami

14.) Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky

15.) Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

16.) Jerry Tillery, IDL, Notre Dame

17.) Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State

18.) Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

19.) Dexter Lawrence, IDL, Clemson

20.) Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

21.) Dre’Mont Jones, IDL, Ohio State

22.) N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

23.) Christian Wilkins, IDL, Clemson

24.) Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

25.) Zach Allen, Edge, Boston College

26.) Damarkus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss

27.) Collin Johnson, WR, Texas

28.) Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn

29.) Juan Thornhill, CB/S, Virginia

30.) Clelin Ferrel, Edge, Clemson


As you can see from all of the scouting notebooks and from my big board above, this is a very strong defensive draft class. Ballard spent this last draft addressing the offensive line and finding a few other pieces here and there but this next class is where he can build up the trenches on the defensive side.

Overall, I really like this group of players that Anthony picked out for this Notebook. Fisher is a true middle linebacker with excellent instincts. Lawrence has the potential to be a stud up front. Ivey could be the final piece in building the offensive line and Brooks brings depth and versatility all over the defense.

Next week’s Scouting Notebook will likely be a bit different as the Senior Bowl invitee list just was announced. I will likely be doing a Notebook based around those players invited and which ones the Colts should pay attention to. Stay tuned for that Scouting Notebook this upcoming Saturday.