INDIANAPOLIS — Chris McGaha, an area scout for the Indianapolis Colts who focuses on the West Coast, as well as general manager Chris Ballard discuss what they saw in cornerback Marvell Tell III, the Colts’ fifth-round (144th-overall) pick in this year’s NFL Draft:
What did you see in Tell III that makes you think corner would be his future with the Colts?
McGaha: “Athleticism, explosiveness, length, intelligence. He's a really smart guy. Change of direction. The way he tested his pro day and all that, all the numbers were really good. He's just a great, great kid. He's going to work his tail off. (With) the position change, he's going to do what he has to do to make the switch.”
Is there film of him doing much work at corner?
McGaha: “Nope — not in college.”
So when you see him play, you’re thinking, “he can be a corner.”
McGaha: “Yeah, it's a bit of projection. You’ve kind of got to be creative, I guess. But just the way he moves, the way he changes direction. And then you get a longer guy out there, somebody who's going to work out at it, too. So yeah.”
Does it help that you guys are picking for a more zone-heavy scheme, and he would’ve played safety playing more time in the zone?
McGaha: “Yeah, maybe a little bit. But I think we'll mix it up too. We'll do a lot of zone, sure, but we'll play man too. Third down, it's time to man up.”
A lot of guys try to make that transition from safety to corner. How do you be successful with it?
McGaha: “I guess you just got to work at it. There takes a level of athleticism, too, which we feel pretty good about. Just put in the work, I guess. And he's somebody that we think will do that.”
Colts general manager Chris Ballard also talked about Tell III during his film session with reporters last month:
Ballard: “I’m really excited about Tell III. So we sent (cornerbacks coach Jonathan) Gannon out to work him out, and we sent him (to work) out as a corner … so we were all in here watching, and somebody in the room said, so (Tell III’s) a safety, he said, ‘Man, we need to make this guy a corner. He moves just like a corner.’ He’s long, he’s a good athlete. And so we sent Gannon out to work him out, and we think he can make the transition. I thought for his first weekend doing it at the rookie minicamp, I thought he was pretty good. … We’ll play him outside.”
“Athletic talent — what kind of athlete is he? How’s his instincts and his ball skills? We thought he had all of that. At safety his strength, I would describe it as average. At corner, I’d say it’s good. He’s just not the banger type at safety, and … one of the things he needs to do is get stronger.”
“You wanna talk about a dialed in kid, now. He is a serious, dialed in, competitive guy. And I think he’s got a little bit of a chip on himself for being a fifth-round pick and kind of getting overlooked. It’ll be fun to watch this kid to see how he develops here over the spring and training camp.”