Three-Day Rookie Camp Achieved Objectives, Dungy Says
INDIANAPOLIS – As Tony Dungy sees it, the young guys did just fine.
The Colts' 2008 rookie class – the nine selections in the 2008 NFL Draft and 13 collegiate free agents – spent this past weekend in the team's rookie camp, a three-day event in which they were to get acclimated and learn in preparation for the team's upcoming mini-camp and organized team activities.
The rookies did just that.
And to hear Dungy tell it, they did it well.
"It's been very good and great for us to get them a lot of information, to go at a slow pace," Dungy, entering his seventh season as the Colts' head coach, said Sunday to Voice of the Colts Bob Lamey. "They didn't have to worry about keeping up with the veterans. That part of it went well.
"We've got a hard-working group – guys who I think are going to be able to help us."
The rookies practiced three times over the weekend, and Dungy said they were introduced to the Colts' playbook. Most of the group will return on May 16 for a three-day mini-camp mandatory for all players – veterans and rookies.
The Colts' organized team activities – 14 voluntary on-field sessions – are scheduled to begin the following week.
"We want them (the rookies) just to study the information we've given them," Dungy said to Lamey. "We'll start over again when they come back on May 16, but if they can pick it up and not start from scratch, that's what we're looking for."
Dungy said his early impressions of the group were solid, and he said the draft addressed several needs on the Colts' roster.
"Our scouting staff really brings in the right type of guys," Dungy said. "We have some good athletes. They look to be a hard-working group, a conscientious group – and that's what catches your eye right now, just how hard they work. If guys do that, they're usually in pretty good shape.
"I think we have some guys who can fill some of the holes we have in our roster. We have some guys who I think our veterans are going to enjoy tutoring and helping, guys who come in with bright eyes and wanted to work. That's a great thing."
The Colts on the weekend of April 26-27 used their lone first-day selection to take Arizona State guard/center Mike Pollak in the second round, then selected eight players the following day: Georgia Tech inside linebacker Philip Wheeler (third round), Kentucky tight end Jacob Tamme (fourth), Georgia defensive end Marcus Howard (fifth), Virginia tight end Tom Santi (sixth), Wake Forest center Steve Justice (sixth), Michigan running back Mike Hart (sixth) and Mount Union wide receiver Pierre Garcon (sixth) and Buffalo center Jamey Richard (seventh).
They also signed the following players as free agents: Arizona State wide receiver Rudy Burgess, Connecticut defensive tackle Dan Davis, Washington State wide receiver Charles Dillon, Kent State defensive tackle Colin Ferrell, Texas defensive back Brandon Foster, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric Foster, Sherbrooke (Can.) College Sam Giguere, Clark College defensive end Curtis Johnson, Southern Illinois offensive tackle Darren Marquez,and State linebacker Jordan Senn, Boston College defensive back Jamie Silva, Morgan State running back Chad Simpson and San Jose State quarterback Adam Tafralis.
Pollak, who played center at Arizona State, likely will compete for a starting spot at right guard, Dungy and Colts President Bill Polian said shortly after Pollak was selected. The Colts hadn't taken an interior offensive lineman on the first day of the draft in nine years and hadn't taken three offensive linemen in a draft since 1991, when the draft still had 12 rounds.
"They look athletic," Dungy said of the trio of Pollak, Justice and Richard. "They look like they're our type of players. They look so similar to (guard) Ryan Lilja and (former Colts guard and 2004 fifth-round selection) Jake Scott and guys like that when they came in. That's always a good sign."
Dungy also said the speed of the Colts' lone selection along the defensive line – Howard – was noticeable in practice.
"Marcus Howard is very fast, which we knew, but when you see it live, first-hand, it's good," Dungy said. "It really is. I think he's going to fit in.
"We have some other guys who did a good job and who look like they have the movement we're looking for."