MOBILE, Ala. — The 2019 Senior Bowl gets underway this week, with practices slated for Tuesday through Thursday followed by the game on Saturday.
The week offers NFL teams a chance to evaluate many top draft-eligible players for a week, both on the field and in interviews. This is a big event for every team, but the Indianapolis Colts clearly take it seriously. There are currently six Colts players who played in each of the last two Senior Bowls, including 2018 rookies Darius Leonard, Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay.
This year’s crop of talent offers plenty more to get excited about for Colts players. Here are 10 prospects, in alphabetical order, to keep an eye on (for full rosters for both teams, click here):
Johnathan Abram | Safety | Mississippi State | South Team
The Colts have a long list of free agent safeties currently on the roster — Clayton Geathers, Mike Mitchell and Matthias Farley included — and all of who have played very meaningful snaps for the Colts.
Someone like Abram would offer prospective clubs a solid special teams contributor in the short term with the potential to become a tone-setting thumper in the box. Abram is likely to endear himself to fans with his hard-hitting style.
Nasir Adderley | Safety | Delaware | North Team
Adderley brings the total package as a safety prospect; coverage, toughness and instincts included. Being from Delaware, facing off against the raised competition level at the Senior Bowl will be huge for him.
Due to playing in the FCS, you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt, but the tape says that Adderley offers the potential to wear many different hats like we’ve seen in recent seasons with guys like Jamal Adams, Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Zach Allen | Edge Defender | Boston College | North Team
Like Colts general manager Chris Ballard told the media last week: “The pass rush is always going to be a cornerstone for us.”
At 6-5 and 285 pounds, Allen has both the frame and experience moving around the defensive front, which is something the Colts did plenty with certain players in 2018. Allen wins with a motor that never quits as well as technique. Effort tends to make players jump out regardless of what their physical limitations have shown to be in the past.
Michael Deiter | Offensive Lineman | Wisconsin | North Team
The Colts have Mark Glowinski, Matt Slauson and Evan Boehm (RFA) all due to hit free agency, and all three started games this year on the interior.
Deiter is a Big Ten offensive lineman, so that makes you comfortable right off the bat. He checks the smart, tough and experienced (started 54-of-54 games at left tackle, left guard and center) boxes that you tend to see from such linemen. Deiter shows a few big traits that Colts linemen showed last year, such as the ability to pull, get to the second level and to get out in front on screens.
Chris Lindstrom | Offensive Lineman | Boston College | North Team
On paper, Lindstrom is one of the safer offensive linemen in this class. He’s not a dominant player, but you don’t see him get bullied either as his strength and movement skills are consistently on display. He shows up and does his job. Lindstrom is plenty experienced (ended his career with 40 consecutive starts at right guard and right tackle) and doesn’t appear to have any major hitches in his game that would prevent him from doing what is asked from him.
Charles Omenihu | Defensive Lineman | Texas | North Team
Similar to Allen, Omenihu’s 6-6, 275-pound frame allows him to move around from the inside and out of the line. With Colts defensive tackles Al Woods and Margus Hunt due to become free agents, the Colts could be looking for some beef up front.
Omenihu fits the mold of what the Colts have in Hunt and Denico Autry, as a lengthy player whose size allows him to hold up and be explosive inside while not losing much athletically when lined up outside. Interior pass rush was one thing that proved to be a pleasant surprise for the Colts last season, and it’s something of which you can never have too much.
Amani Oruwariye | Cornerback | Penn State | North Team
The Colts got a career year out of cornerback Pierre Desir in 2018, but he is an impending free agent.
Oruwariye offers great length and overall size at 6-1 and just over 200 pounds. In a league that offers many top-end receivers with great size, you always want a corner who can matchup physically with those types of players. Oruwariye displays good speed and short-area quickness that could fit in well with a zone defense like the Colts typically use.
Deebo Samuel | Wide Receiver | South Carolina | South Team
If 2018 was about building protection for Andrew Luck then we may see the Colts fortify his arsenal in 2019. With Ryan Grant, Dontrelle Inman, Marcus Johnson (ERFA) and Chester Rogers (RFA) all due to become free agents this spring, it may be necessary.
Samuel is a playmaker (14 touchdowns in the last 15 games) who has the hands and route-running ability to contribute to a team right away. His knack for making plays with the ball in his hands will be especially good for teams who frequently use the short passing game as an extension of their run game.
Montez Sweat | Edge Defender | Mississippi State | South Team
Sweat has had excellent production the past two seasons, racking up 22.5 sacks and 30.0 tackles for loss in 26 games. His initial jump and speed off the edge should have no problem translating to the NFL, but he’ll need to show at the Senior Bowl that he has either improved his ability to bend the edge around tackles or can win one-on-ones with a variety of pass-rush moves.
Oshane Ximines | Edge Defender | Old Dominion | South Team
Ximines is another small-school defender who has a lot to gain from his showing against better competition in Mobile. His statistical production has improved every year, which is one way of exemplifying that he is an ascending talent. His pass rush moves should be evident from Day 1, but he’ll have to prove he can disengage from blockers if he doesn’t get the initial jump on them.