INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano joined Indianapolis last January from Baltimore, one of the league’s top defensive teams.
Pagano was asked earlier this year about how his Colts team will look and as he referenced the style of play in the AFC North, he also mentioned a tip he learned at Oakland – big is good.
Nose guard Josh Chapman fits that notion. Chapman, 6-1, 316, is the club’s first pick in the fifth round. Chapman started 25 of 54 career games at nose guard at Alabama, meaning he has seen collegiate competition at its highest level. He will bring his 3-4 presence to the Colts.
“(I feel) pretty good, man. (I’m) real excited right now,” said Chapman upon being taken by Indianapolis. “I’m glad to be a part of the Colts organization. I’m glad to be a Colt and ready to get into this process. The 3-4 defense going in, that’s the defense I love to play, playing nose guard. (I want to) make this organization win a championship. … I’m glad to be in the organization and play the game that I love.”
Chapman had 23 tackles, 10 solo, one sack, 3.5 tackles for losses and two passes broken up this past season as Alabama won the national championship. Chapman started 11 of 12 games, despite injuring the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury happened against Florida, but the chance to win a title kept Chapman in the lineup. His persistence paid off as Alabama avenged a regular-season loss to LSU by blanking the Tigers in the title game, 21-0. After January surgery, he indicated he should be ready for training camp.
“I tore it October 1 playing against Florida in the third or fourth quarter,” said Chapman. “I was told that I could have surgery or keep on playing the season. I still had stability left in my knee and I wanted to win a championship. Pain is one of those temporary things. A lot of people have pain in the game of football, but I just had to do what I had to do.
“I’m probably about I want to say 50 percent. I’m probably more than 50 percent. I’ve been straight-line running, kind of ahead of schedule so we kind of slowed it down a little bit. We don’t want to rush anything with the knee. I should be ready (for training camp). That’s the way I’ve been rehabbing and training.”
Alabama’s success bordered on a crusade in 2011. No other team in the nation held opponents to fewer than 260 yards a game, and the Tide limited opponents to less than 11 points an outing. It was the only school among the 119 FBS institutions to stake the claim. Alabama also averaged 2.3 sacks and 7.4 tackles behind the scrimmage line to rank among the nation’s leaders. Alabama (72.15) led the nation in rush defense, total defense (183.62) and scoring defense (8.15).
For his career, Chapman had 88 tackles, 44 solo, 13.5 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks and four passes defensed. In 2011, he earned All-America notice by Pro Football Weekly and second-team All-SEC honors by AP and the conference’s coaches. Chapman had 31 tackles, 18 solo, and 3.5 tackles for losses in 2010. Alabama yielded 110.2 rushing yards per game, 10th in the nation. Its defense ranked fifth in the nation overall (286.4) and third in scoring (13.5).
Chapman started two of 26 games from 2008-09. He played in three games in 2007 before earning a medical redshirt due to a shoulder injury.
Chapman believes he is someone who can help in the nose position for Indianapolis.
“Playing the nose guard position in a 3-4 defense, you have to be a guy that’s not jumping,” said Chapman. “You have to understand your role and do your job. That’s part of eating up blockers and basically making a whole new line of scrimmage. One thing I always pride myself on is being one of the best nose guards in the country and that’s by going out doubling up my opponent. Just my technique is one thing I pride myself on.”
Chapman’s entry into the NFL was preceded into the league by two recent Alabama nose guards, Terrence Cody (Baltimore) and Marcel Dareus (Buffalo).
Chapman attended Hoover (Ala.) High School, helping lead his 2006 team to a second-ranked status in the state with a 13-2 mark.
Kevin Bowen assisted on this story.