INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Derice, an area scout for the Indianapolis Colts who focuses on the Northeast Region, talked to reporters following the 2018 NFL Draft about what he saw in linebacker Zaire Franklin, the Colts’ seventh-round (235th-overall) pick in this year’s draft:
What were your thoughts on Zaire Franklin?*
“Three-time captain. I think he was the first three-time captain in about 130 years at Syracuse, which is a rarity. So he has outstanding leadership traits. You know, they talk about grit: this guy has it from a standpoint of he was raised by mom and grandma, and they both passed away. So he was self-sufficient growing up. And those are traits that I liked. He’s been productive as a linebacker. He’s tough, instinctive. He just has the right make-up.”
Is Franklin an inside linebacker?
“He’s MIKE. Yeah.”
Defining characteristic you’re looking for in a MIKE?
“You want someone who can read it, and attack aggressively downhill. You know, and that’s what he can do. This year at Syracuse, they played it a little bit different, but if you go back to Notre Dame of last year, you saw how he attacked downhill, and he made some pretty good plays. Even this year, he hawked down — I guess North Carolina State — Hines broke out on a long run, and he flipped his hips, turned and caught Hines from behind. And then the kid ended up running a 4.55 (-second 40-yard dash) at the pro day, and it made sense, you know?”
-------------------2018 'Through The Scout's Eye' Series:
• Linebacker Darius Leonard
• Guard Braden Smith
• Defensive end Kemoko Turay
• Running back Nyheim Hines
• Running back Jordan Wilkins
• Wide receiver Deon Cain
• Linebacker Zaire Franklin