The Colts held rookie minicamp over the weekend at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Here are a few things we learned from a number of players’ first taste of being in the NFL, starting with how Kwity Paye is approaching his transition from Michigan to Indianapolis. JJ Stankevitz
Kwity Paye was admittedly a bit hesitant in his first practice as a a pro.
The Colts' first round pick (No. 21 overall) was tasked with doing more reading and reacting while playing in Michigan's defensive scheme in college. He finished his college career with 11 1/2 sacks in 28 games.
In Indianapolis, though, the directive is different.
"Here's it's just attacking," Paye said. "We're going."
It didn't take Paye long to embrace that attacking mindset this weekend. And the Colts feel like Paye's remarkable skillset coupled with that get-after-the-quarterback mentality will boost a defensive line already sporting one of the best interior pass rushers in the NFL in DeForest Buckner.
Paye, too, said he'll mostly be rushing from the right side - this after he would slide inside for certain pass rushing plays at Michigan.
Zooming out on Odeyingbo
Dayo Odeyingbo's main goal is to play for the Colts in 2021. But he knows the Colts didn't draft him just to make a one-year impact - the team thinks he can be one of the NFL's best pass rushers for a long, long time.
"The coaches and the organization is pretty confident in technology and the trainers' ability to get me back and get me fully recovered," Odeyingbo said. "And they know it's not necessarily a one-year investment, it's an investment for an entire career. So I think that's kind of the mentality that they had when they took that risk on me and chose me."
Added Odeyingbo: "Obviously I want to be back as soon as possible, but if the doctors don't feel that that's the best idea, then I'm more than ready to take time off and just work on my craft and be back for the next year. So, whenever I'm back on the field, that's when I'm going to be able to help this team and contribute. And I'm excited to get there."
Strachan embracing challenge ahead
Seventh round pick Mike Strachan put up some outrageous numbers in college - 78 catches for 1,319 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2019; 48 catches, 1,007 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018 - while using his size and speed to bully opposing defenders.
But Strachan put up those numbers at D-II Charleston (W.V.). And he recognizes the jump in competition from that level of college ball to the NFL will represent a significant challenge. It's one, though, he said he feels prepared for both mentally and physically.
"Moving forward into the NFL, it is a high level," Strachan said. "Right now, it's just being able to come in and compete. That's going to be the biggest thing and being tough. Toughness is probably one of the biggest assets to this game and that's something I want to bring forward to the Colts nation - toughness and overall competing."
Behind the numbers
We heard from a few rookies on why they chose their numbers last week. Some samples:
Kwity Paye (No. 51) said he always had a "1" in his jersey number, so he wanted to stick with that.
Dayo Odeyingbo (No. 54) was the 54th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, "so I kind of figured I might as well get the 54," he said.
Kylen Granson (No. 83) wore it at SMU. "I did big stuff with it in college and I hope I can carry it over here," he said.
How UDFAs landed in Indianapolis
The Colts signed five undrafted free agents last week ahead of rookie minicamp: WR Tarik Black, LB Anthony Butler, RB Deon Jackson, LB Isaiah Kaufusi and WR Tyler Vaughns.
We heard from Vaughns and Jackson over the weekend on why they picked Indianapolis after not hearing their name called in the 2021 NFL Draft.
We'll start with Vaughns, who has a "strong" relationship with Colts receiver Michael Pittman Jr. after playing with him in college at USC. Vaughns said he did his research on various teams and decided the Colts were the best fit for him.
"Just solely looking at their roster and looking at the offense that they actually ran, I actually went over some of the offenses while being at USC we got to watch some of the NFL film there," Vaughns said. "I was kind of not too familiar, but familiar in what they ran and the type of offense they were in. I felt like I could fit that offense better."
Jackson joins a deep running back room in Indianapolis but wasn't dissuaded by the presence of Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, among others.
"Just going through the meeting process and having Zoom meetings and everything like that in the pre-draft process, I felt like that I developed a good relationship with the coaches," Jackson said. "I watch Indy a lot. I mean, I like their offense, I like how they used their running backs. I like their running scheme, I know that they have a great O-line. I just felt like it was definitely an organization I wanted to be a part of."