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Indianapolis Colts Select LB Zaire Franklin with Pick 235 in NFL Draft

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Chris Ballard said prior to free agency and the draft that there would be numerous additions to linebacker. The latest addition is Syracuse LB Zaire Franklin.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In the seventh round with the 235th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts have selected Zaire Franklin.

Franklin is a 6’0”, 239 lbs. prospect who ran a 4.62 second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, put up 30 reps on the bench and a 10’2” broad jump. During his senior season, he tallied 88 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed, and a forced fumble. He played a key role in Syracuse’s defense and was known as a solid tackler at the position.

Over at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, SB Nation’s Syracuse blog, they had the following things to say about Franklin as a player for the Orange.

Franklin has been one of the faces of Syracuse football these past few years, with the numbers to back up being a three-year captain on defense. But that wasn’t enough for him to get the combine nod, as scouts seemed to prefer perceptively larger or faster linebackers.

His pro day is going to give teams more to think about, however. Franklin’s 30 bench press reps would’ve actually been tops at the combine, and many of his other numbers would’ve also put him among the top-six. Raw athleticism doesn’t replace scheme fit or lack thereof, but it certainly helps.

That scheme fit question will ultimately be what decides things for Zaire. While he showed himself to be versatile at SU and able to change to a coverage-based system (from a blitz-based one), that transition wasn’t always simple. With luck, his leadership and that ability to play well in a variety of roles helps him out.

He’s unlikely to be picked, but will be in-demand as an undrafted free agent.

Take a look at highlights from his junior season to get a little close look.


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