I think our strength and conditioning staff will have their hands full with three of our draftees this year. I expect that all three will get redshirt seasons as we’re getting them to proper weights and improving their physical traits:
1) Zach Banner. Seems like a terrible fit and pick to most of us. What the team is probably thinking is that getting him to a correct playing weight will result in the minimal mobility necessary to be a power RT. He was playing at almost 390 most of the time, so of course he struggled. Now, his abysmal combine numbers were at a lower weight of 353 pounds; however, getting down to a weight that enables a player to gain mobility and retain his strength is a trickier process that takes some time. This is where our strength and conditioning staff will earn their money. I’m not too hopeful, since he’s coming from a program that certainly had a nearly NFL-quality strength and conditioning program (not from Watsamatta U., as Grigson would say). In fact, if I had to guess at the three best programs in college football, I’d say Ohio St., Alabama, and USC would have the best strength and conditioning programs.
2) Anthony Walker Jr. Such a weird case. Would have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick after his RSoph season. Respected draftniks said he had sideline-to-sideline range and was really good in coverage (having run step-for-step with Christian McCaffrey in coverage that year). Then, he gained 20 pounds of muscle. From this year’s tape, he has limited range and can’t cover. He’s from a school that certainly doesn’t have a good training staff, and he probably bulked up in a way that compromised his quickness and flexibility. I really think that the NFL strength and conditioning program will be the key to getting him back on track. I’m hoping that some of the false steps and other technical flaws many have noted from this past year resulted from his uncertainty about his new body (kind of like how teenagers on extreme growth spurts can get really clumsy as they break in their new, longer limbs).
3) Grover Stewart. For some reason, NFL.com has him listed at 6’5, 295. It’s easy to see which draft reviewers are using that misinformation, as they say he’s notably unathletic for his size. In reality, it’s the opposite. His PD size was 6’4, 347 (seriously, they’re off by 52 pounds!). He was actually quite quick for his size, and he’s strong as an ox. Truly, he already has an NFL body and athleticism. He is an athletic lump of clay who needs a year to learn proper technique. The reason the strength and conditioning staff will have to spend a lot of time with him is that he is figuratively coming from Watsamatta U. I can’t imagine that Albany State did more than point him towards the track and the weight room. In this instance, the Colts’ staff has an opportunity to make him even quicker and stronger at the same time the coaching staff is teaching him proper technique. He could be a beast by his second season.
On a totally unrelated note: rumored tryout player Chris Lyles (CB from Mississippi College) could be an interesting player. Best I could tell, he was 6’4, 200 pounds at his PD, and he ran a 4.40 forty. But the most interesting thing was this quote: "I want them (NFL scouts) to know that I've been overrated. Been the underdog for a long time and it's time for the dog to come out the gate." Not only misused “overrated” (he obviously meant “underrated”), but he either got lost in his dog metaphor and strayed into horse-racing or was completing a rare dog-racing metaphor. Or maybe he was talking about a dog that’s been locked up in a yard, and the gate has nothing to do with racing. Who knows…? I’m just hope he gets to TC so we can hear some more goofy quotes!