INDIANAPOLIS — For some football players, their impact on the game is obvious in the box score. They'll load it up with gaudy stats and are a clear reason why their team won.
However, some players make an impact on the game outside the box score; actually watching them play makes you appreciate their efforts even more.
Former Penn State defensive tackle Rob Windsor is one of the latter.
And the Indianapolis Colts obviously did their homework on Windsor, selecting him late in the 2020 NFL Draft in the sixth round with the 193rd-overall pick.
"Being able to be picked up in itself is just a blessing," Windsor told reporters after the draft. "I'm just grateful for the opportunity and really excited to be a Colt."
In 52 games on the gridiron for the Nittany Lions — including 26 starts — Windsor totaled 121 tackles (20.0 for loss), 14.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
In his final season, coaches named Windsor Third-Team All-Big Ten, and the media named him All-Big Ten honorable mention. He was also officially named Second-Team All-Big Ten in 2018, and BTN.com named him to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team as an honorable mention selection in 2016.
Perhaps Windsor's most meaningful collegiate honor, though, was being awarded with the Lions Pride Outstanding Senior Player Award in 2019, which is given to those who have made the greatest career contribution to Penn State Football.
You don't come into an award like that at a program like Penn State without a lot of hard work and leadership behinds the scenes. So while Windsor might've lacked the more eye-popping stats of others selected before him, you can look at the tape to see where he earns his keep.
For starters, his size is pretty good for a 4-3 interior defender at 6'4-1/2" and 290 pounds.
He mentioned that his weight often varied depending on where the Nittany Lions had him playing, ranging anywhere from 280 to 315 pounds, playing either the one-technique or, more recently, the three-technique. He is coming to the Colts around 290 pounds, which may be where they have him stay depending on which defensive line position they'd like to put him at initially; either the one or three-technique.
On the field, Windsor plays a little more like a high-motor nose tackle in a three-tech's frame than a typical twitchy, explosive three-tech.
He showed decent athleticism at the Scouting Combine, which could indicate there's more room for him to grow athletically. Among interior defensive linemen, he finished in the top five in the short shuttle (4.44 seconds, third), three-cone (7.47, fourth), broad jump (111", fourth) and vertical (28.5", fifth). He also finished eighth in the 40-yard dash with an official 4.90 (1.74 10-yard split).
The first thing that jumps off the tape is Windsor's energy and motor. He is determined to attack the backfield and is like a bull in a china shop getting there, powering his way into and through blockers. He plays to the whistle and will chase the ball downfield even if it's no longer in his reach. While that style of play most certainly caught Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus' eye, Windsor said he was able to refine other parts of his game throughout his college career.
"I think my intensity sometimes overshadows some of my other traits like my athleticism and my technique, which is one thing that the Colts were definitely attracted to about my game," Windsor said about his game. "But I think motor is the most obvious thing that pops off the screen. I think that I have great wrist control and I'm good at using my hands."
Windsor uses both his upper-body strength and lower leg drive to push blockers back and to create distance. He uses his hands well to fight blockers and try and get by. He pivots his frame, shoulder-first, to be able to maintain driving toward the ball when engaged in a block. He also does the underrated small things like trying to push the pile towards the running lane if he can't get there, and getting his hands into passing lanes.
Windsor doesn't yet have many setup moves when approaching blockers, and he also does not have many counter moves to free himself from blocks, although he will try and spin off a blocker into the direction the ball is headed.
Currently, Windsor is a straight-line attacker who gets into the backfield with power, effort and patience. He could certainly develop more moves to battle blockers, though, which would create even more opportunities for him to disrupt the backfield.
FIT WITH THE COLTS
As Windsor worked his way through the pre-draft process, he could tell "there was an interest" from the Colts.
"I mean, they made it (apparent) that there was always a strong interest there and just where I got picked, that was the question mark," Windsor said.
Windsor has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder upon his arrival, as he flew a bit under the radar during his Penn State career, which will fuel the start of his career with the Colts.
"Well it's just kept me hungry, to be honest because I know my worth and I acknowledge that," he said. "If everyone else doesn't acknowledge it – that just keeps me hungry."
The Colts currently have great depth at both defensive tackle spots, especially after drafting Windsor. They've got DeForest Buckner, Denico Autry and Tyquan Lewis at the three-tech, with Grover Stewart and Sheldon Day at nose, but adding guys like Windsor, Buckner and Day this offseason can help allow guys like Autry and Lewis to play outside at end more often. They also signed Kameron Cline and Chris Williams as undrafted free agents following the draft.
Especially from the 4-3 nose position, Windsor can provide a bit of a spark for the Colts. He can drive and get push like Stewart and Day do, providing good depth, particularly on the goal line.
"I'm not too familiar, but I'm excited to get familiar," Windsor said of his knowledge of the Colts' defensive scheme. "I know you guys are a four-down front and penetration scheme, which I think I'll fit great into. I'm a penetrator, so I'm honestly really excited to be able to play in this type of scheme and with this team."
Windsor's best qualities — his high motor and intensity — are infectious traits that provide an example for teammates and drives them to play harder as well. You're not going to find many "loafs" on this guy's tape.
And, eventually, Windsor hopes that approach leads to more and more opportunities to make plays.
"Being under the radar, I'm just kind of used to it at this point," Windsor said. "At some point in my career I'm going to break through and I don't think I will have that talk anymore about being under the radar."
Get your first look at defensive lineman Rob Windsor after he was selected 193rd overall by the Indianapolis Colts.