There seems to be plenty of doubts about Marvell Tell’s work-ethic and passion while playing the game. His athletic ability was enough to get him drafted and he has the talent to make it in the NFL, but time and time again the NFL has proven that elite athleticism, alone, is not enough to make it in the League.
The transition from safety to cornerback should serve Tell tremendously, as he did not have the muscle and weight to play safety, and he has proven he has the coverage skills and instincts required to play cornerback. Still, the question here is not about Tell’s ability to play football (which is unquestionable), but rather his apparent lack of commitment, and how the Colts have a culture in place that can help players with such issues.
After watching Colts players constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons (D’Qwell Jackson, Da’Rick Rogers, David Parry, etc.) and players with no passion for the game, like Trent Richardson, Ballard made it a priority to sign and draft high-character players and leaders both on and off the field. In this draft class alone, Ballard drafted Rock Ya-Sin, who, on a single season at Temple received a single digit jersey number (a privilege given to the toughest players); Khari Willis, a team captain with exceptional character; Bobby Okereke, who did an internship with Condoleeza Rice, and even each of the other Draft picks have at least something that points to either an incredible work-ethic or a burning passion for the game. E.J Speed, who was charged with two felonies (charges which were later dropped), decided to play at unknown Tarleton State to stay close to his brother, who ultimately lost his battle to cancer.
Besides the fact that drafting and signing players like this helps build a tough mental team, it also gives teams the possibility of taking chances on players like Tell, because the locker room culture will absorb and transform such players. Tell’s criticism on his work-ethic might be overstated, but if it is indeed true, then he will not last a single day on a Colts facility without changing.
Welcome to Indy. Jim Irsay said Quenton Nelson asking for cell phone numbers of each draft pick. Wants to call them, welcome them to team and tell them 'what it means to wear the horseshoe.'— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) April 27, 2019
The Colts locker room right now is perhaps the most committed I have ever seen since I started following the team. The whole organization is filled with hard-working, blue-collar guys, true to the spirit of Indianapolis. Marvell Tell will be given the opportunity to prove that the knocks on his commitment and passion were overblown, and the Colts locker room will push him to the limit to prove the doubters wrong.