INDIANAPOLIS – Colts rookies, it's time to work.
After months of draft preparation, a total of 45 players (13 tryout guys) took part in Friday's start to a three-day rookie mini-camp for the Colts. The 45 players also included several guys who have been in the NFL for less than a year.
Those taking part in the rookie mini-camp arrived to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center at the crack of dawn on Friday to get their day started.
Some classroom work and a morning walk-through, was followed by a two-hour afternoon practice where Colts coaches, and Owner/CEO Jim Irsay, finally got to see the 2015 rookie class together with their own eyes.
The highlight from Friday's first day of work was undrafted cornerback Donald Celiscar (Western Michigan) stepping in front of a pass intended for Duron Carter and hauling in an interception during 11-on-11 work.
First-round pick Phillip Dorsett fielded punt and kick returns during special teams drills. Dorestt caught a comeback route in 11-on-11 drills and nearly hauled in a deep ball that allowed the Miami product to display his 4.27 40-yard dash speed.
At running back, all 5-8 of Josh Robinson showed that he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Chuck Pagano talked before Friday's practice how he sees three-down potential in Robinson. The sixth-round pick agrees with the coach's assessment saying that his "soft hands" can be trusted in the passing game.
Other draft pick notes included seventh-round selection Denzelle Good working at right tackle and sixth-round pick Amarlo Herrera calling the plays for the first-team defense.
Here is a locker room round up from Pagano and the rookies meeting the media on Friday:
Chuck Pagano's on his message to the rookies:
"My point to them was don't start measuring yourself right now. Worry about you, worry about when the day is over the goal is, 'Am I a better football player this afternoon than I was this morning?' Then repeat the same thing tomorrow. The final goal of something like this would be to become necessary. Be so good that we can't ignore you."
Bowen's Analysis: An energetic Pagano took to the podium on Friday to chat about the 2015 rookie class. One area Pagano and the rest of the coaching staff will definitely have their eyes on this weekend is the talented undrafted class (see below). The Colts have had an NFL-best 16 straight seasons with an undrafted free agent on their Week One roster (four last year).**
Phillip Dorsett on his first impressions of the NFL:**
"Everything is more crisp. You see that everybody is flying around faster. It's a lot different than college, but not too different. Saw some of the similar concepts, same things, same playbook so it's good."
Bowen's Analysis: While Dorsett, who will be right next to T.Y. Hilton in the Colts locker room, showed off his impressive speed on a deep route and in special teams drills on Friday, it was a comeback route that had my eye. For Dorsett to play as a rookie, he must show a grasp of being a complete receiver, something that he has said improved significantly during his time at Miami. Dorsett had a catch on a comeback route on Friday, which was nice to see taking into consideration the lack of timing that usually occurs with quarterbacks and receivers having little cohesion.Henry Anderson on the first day of work:
"It was good to kind of be back in cleats out on the field doing actual football. You do so much for the combine and pro day, you're like a track athlete. It's kind of good to get back into football work."
Bowen's Analysis: Leave it to a Stanford guy to offer what he was finally looking forward to on Friday. He couldn't be more right. After months of preparing yourself for track specific drills and handling questions from all over the place, Friday was about football. At 6-6 and 294 pounds, Anderson definitely dwarfs nearly all of his fellow rookies. Mentally, Anderson said an early look at defensive installs backed up what Pagano touched on about the Stanford guys having an easier adjustment to the Colts 3-4 scheme (both similar systems).**
Get To Know Some Colts Undrafted Free AgentsRunning Back Tyler Varga (Yale)**
Varga is one of two Senior Bowl participants in the Colts undrafted class. With two touchdowns in the Senior Bowl, Varga showed that he could more than hold his own against some of college football's finest talent. At 222 pounds, Varga believes he's versatile (could be a fullback option), which should warrant some consideration during roster cut down time later this summer.Tight End Jean Sifrin (UMass)
At the age of 27, Sifrin is certainly not your normal undrafted free agent. His story to reach this point in the NFL is pretty remarkable. The athletic tight end had a nice catch down the seam today during 7-on-7 drills. How the Colts utilize their tight ends was a major selling point to the coveted Sifrin, during the rapid fire process of being an undrafted free agent.Outside Linebacker Zack Hodges (Harvard)
The other undrafted Senior Bowl product is Hodges (the Colts had 8 in total, the most of any NFL team). Just like Sifrin, Hodges has had a unique journey to the NFL. As a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year, Hodges will get his first look coming off the edge. That's a crowded position group for the Colts, but Hodges has the length and athleticism that is intriguing to Pagano and the staff.
- Reminder, the Colts will have their open veteran mini-camp practice at Lucas Oil Stadium on Wednesday, June 10th.
Here's a look at the last time the Colts had an open practice at Lucas Oil Stadium.*