It’s not often that a 1986 blockbuster film quote becomes the perfect metaphor for an NFL team’s roster move. But when the Indianapolis Colts picked up Ameer Speed this week, it became clear: “I’ve got the need, the need for speed.”
Ameer Speed’s addition to the Colts is more than a catchy surname. From Michigan State, this young cornerback clocked an impressive 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the Pro Day before the 2023 NFL Draft. Standing tall at 6’3” and weighing 209 lbs, Speed’s physical attributes are certainly eye-catching. But beyond his impressive metrics, what does this move signal for the Colts?
Chris Ballard has proven he has a knack for identifying talent, especially regarding the New England Patriots’ waiver wire. Fans will remember the stroke of genius in 2017 when Ballard snagged Kenny Moore II. Once an overlooked talent by the Patriots, Moore quickly became an integral part of the Colts’ defense, even earning a Pro Bowl nod. The hope in Indy is that lightning might strike twice with this latest acquisition.
However, expectations should be tempered. Ameer Speed, although athletically gifted, remains a raw defensive prospect. Early projections indicate that he’s more likely to contribute to special teams in the initial stages of his Colts career - as has been his early role in New England. Yet, given the nature of the NFL, where injuries and roster adjustments can thrust players into unexpected roles, it’s essential to have depth and potential in all positions. Speed provides just that.
There’s also an amusing twist to this story. With Ameer Speed joining the roster, he’ll be uniting with another ‘Speed’ – linebacker E.J. Speed. The Colts now boast two ‘Speeds’ in their locker room. While their surnames might be the same, E.J. Speed has already made a name for himself and could be the eventual successor for the oft-injured Shaquille Leonard. The dynamic between the two ‘Speeds’ is bound to create a lively atmosphere on and off the field.
This signing is consistent with Ballard’s approach to talent acquisition: prioritizing potential and athleticism. While raw talent like Ameer Speed might require coaching and development, players with his athletic gifts have an upside that is hard to ignore. In a league where margins of victory can be razor-thin, having players with the sheer physical ability to make game-changing plays is invaluable.
Will Ameer Speed rise to prominence as Kenny Moore II did? That remains to be seen. Yet, as the 2023 season progresses, Colts fans will have another young player to monitor. Because if there’s one thing that football aficionados know, it’s that you can never have too much speed. And the Colts, it seems, are embracing that attitude wholeheartedly.