INDIANAPOLIS – In the last 15 years, no team in the NFL has benefited from undrafted free agents at a higher rate than the Indianapolis Colts.
At least one UDFA has been on the Colts opening day 53-man roster in each of the last 15 years. The next closest team is the Kansas City Chiefs at 11 straight years.
One of Ryan Grigson’s staunchest personnel beliefs is always trying to accentuate the backend of his roster.
He was outspoken about the college free agents throughout the 2014 draft process and wanted his staff to pay particular attention to the back of their prospect board.
After three preseason games we’ve seen the fruits of that labor at several positions.
Here’s a look at three of the more intriguing undrafted guys heading into Thursday’s preseason finale (there are certainly more, but I wanted to focus on these three).
Kerr has no plans on packing his bags out of Indianapolis anytime soon and his play shows just that.
Listed as a nose tackle, the 325-pound Kerr had three tackles for loss last week and for the second straight game recorded a sack (and his dance, which ignited the Colts sideline).
“Honestly, these are THE most important days, THE most important practices, THE most important reps in every game that we play because at the end of the day that determines your livelihood,” Kerr says of these final auditions.
“I don’t even know the word to use but it’s huge. It determines the outcome of your career, your job, whether you’ve got to go somewhere else or you’ll make it here as a Colt.”
With defensive line depth taking a hit after the season-ending injuries to
“It got real, real fast,” Kerr said of seeing the door open a bit after the injuries.
“It got to the point where I was getting third-team reps to where I was starting to get second team reps and me thinking, ‘Okay, JP went down, they are probably going to bring in a veteran guy.’ Then when I see they didn’t make a move, I was like this is definitely a good opportunity for me to showcase what I can do, to showcase I can play in this league and play for the Indianapolis Colts.”
When the Colts list of undrafted free agents came out in early May, many fans were intrigued by Purifoy’s name.
He was a talented cornerback at Florida and that position was a spot many draft pundits had the Colts pinned to take during the draft.
After battling some injuries during the offseason program and Training Camp, Purifoy has flashed in the preseason.
There might not be a ton of immediate reps available at the cornerback position and whoever makes the team at that spot will have to impact the game on special teams.
Purifoy has done that in kick/punt coverage and as a returner.
“The more you can do,” is the line Purifoy points to when talking about what he’s trying to accomplish in impressing the Colts coaching staff.
Swoope might not be a major threat to make the Colts 53-man roster but his development will be interesting to watch.
With practice squads increasing to 10 players this season, a guy like Swoope would seem to be an ideal candidate for the Colts (similar to
On Saturday night, Swoope made his first NFL catch, in just his third ever game of organized football, at any level.
An area that Swoope points to as being key in his growth has been eliminating the thought of always trying to compare the new sport of football to his old one of basketball.
This is the NFL and Swoope knows to be able to compete at the highest of levels, he has to embrace and learn all aspects of football, particularly in the run game.
Talking with Swoope, you can easily tell that he has the ideal mental mindset to handle the task of trying to make such a quantum leap.
Swoope will get another shot on Thursday night.
“This is a key opportunity where I can prove myself, show the studying I’ve been doing, all the things I’ve learned from camp, maybe some of the mistakes I’ve been making,” Swoope says.
“This is an excellent time to redeem myself, show my own growth and just continue to push to make the best case that I can.”