The 2007 NFL Draft turned to its second day on Sunday.
And as it did, the Colts made a familiar turn.
A defensive turn.
The Colts, who surprised some observers on Saturday with two offensive players in their first two selections, returned to their historical norm Sunday, using four of their final five selections of the 2007 NFL Draft to focus on defensive players.
In all, the Colts used six of nine selections on defense.
“It just really worked out that way,” Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said. “We had some guys we liked defensively, some guys who can run and hit and do some things.
“It just really kind of fell that way.”
The Colts' second day of the draft looked like this:
Troy safety Brannon Condren (fourth round, 131st overall), Pittsburgh linebacker Clint Session (fourth round, 136th overall), Ohio State wide receiver Roy Hall (fifth round, 169th overall), Alabama State cornerback Michael Coe (fifth round, 173rd overall) and Texas Tech defensive end Keyunta Dawson (seventh round, 242nd overall).
“Every one of these guys can run,” Colts President Bill Polian said, adding, “We targeted people. We went after people, and by and large, (we) got them.
“I said (Thursday before the draft) we thought we had players (on the roster) who could start for us, and we had to add depth. We think we did.”
The Colts began the draft Saturday by taking Ohio State wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (first round, 32nd overall) and Arkansas offensive lineman Tony Ugoh (second round, 42nd selection).
Polian discussed again Sunday the decision to acquire Ugoh. The Colts traded their 2008 first-round selection and a 2007 fourth-rounder to the San Francisco 49ers for the selection.
“He is a player that we felt had the capacity in the long-term to play left tackle,” Polian said. “That is the one position on the offensive line where we feel you have to strike very early in the draft to get that player. There are very few players who have that capacity to play that position well.”
The Colts finished the first day by selecting California cornerback Daymeion Hughes (third round, 95th overall) and Ohio State defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock (third round, 98th overall).
Since Dungy's 2002 arrival as head coach, the Colts have used 19 of 32 second-day draft selections on defense. Since Polian’s 1998 arrival, the total is 28 of 48.
“He’s always yelling, 'Defense, defense,’ on the second day,” Dungy said, laughing.
“First of all, I think you can never have enough good defensive players,” Polian said. “That’s why we (he and Dungy) get along so well. He’s now trying to convince me to take offensive players, but I don’t think you can ever have enough defensive players.
“We’ve proven since the time Tony and I have been together that we know how to pick them and we know the kind of players who fit for our system. If those players are there, you want to try to add them. That’s what we did.
“I would have liked to have gotten three or four more, but you only have so many choices. We know exactly what we’re looking for, so we can find those guys on the second day and have success with them.”
A reason for the Colts’ second-day success defensively, Dungy said, is that the Colts’ Cover 2, one-gap style of defense requires a slightly different type of player - with more emphasis on speed on the front seven and less on size – from many defenses.
“We’re looking a lot of times for someone a little bit different than other people are,” Dungy said. “Guys like (former Colts linebacker) Cato June, (current Colts defensive end) Robert Mathis – they stand out like a sore thumb for us. Maybe they’re not exactly what everybody else is looking for. For us, they really fit and we tend to gravitate toward those types of guys on the second day.”
Condren (6-feet-1, 205 pounds), a two-year starter at Troy, started 24 of 47 games in college, totaling 175 tackles, 138 solos, with one sack and 10 tackles for losses. He also caused and recovered a fumble, intercepting two passes and defending 11 passes.
“He’s a box safety,” Polian said. “He’s a guy who’s good at playing near the line, a guy who we think has a real good opportunity to make the team as a special teams player and perhaps as the fourth safety.”
Condren, an All-Sun Belt Conference selection as a senior, led the team this past season with a career-high 98 tackles, including 86 solos. He had a sack and seven tackles for losses, forcing a fumble and recovering another.
He intercepted two passes as a senior and defensed four others.
Session (6-0, 235) played in 42 games in four seasons, and as a senior, he made 101 tackles with 67 solos. He also scored on a
78-yard interception return and had a sack.
“He’s a sub 4.6(-second, 40-yard dash) guy,” Polian said. “That’s very good speed for a linebacker. Very productive. Very tough.
“He’s a guy we had our eyes on right from the start.”
Polian said Session should excel on special teams “and has a real chance to be a productive linebacker.
“He’s very much in the mold of (Colts linebackers) Freddy Keiaho and Tyjuan Hagler – people like that,” Polian said, adding later, “I had a real conviction on Session. I thought he had a chance to come in here and make our team and be a player for us.”
Hall (6-3, 240), who ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the Ohio State Pro Day this spring, started seven of 47 games in college, catching 52 passes for 580 yards and three touchdowns.
He started five games in 2004, and two in 2005, catching a career-high 17 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore in 2004 and 16 for 134 as a junior.
He missed two games with an ankle sprain as a senior, playing as a reserve in 11 games and catching 13 passes for 147 yards.
“He was the fourth receiver at Ohio State,” Polian said. “They thought about switching him to tight end to get him on the field. They never quite made that move, so he ended up being the fourth receiver. But he’s a player we think has a lot – a lot – of upside.
“We compared him to a faster version of (Colts wide receiver) Aaron Moorehead when Aaron Moorehead first got here.”
Hall became the third Ohio State player selected by the Colts.
“It’s amazing,” Dungy said. “We’re going to see if we can get a concession on the shuttle bus between here and Columbus for the next few weeks. One thing I like about their program: they practice hard. They’ve got a great program. They play in a lot of big games.
“It just so happens we’ve got a bunch of them this year, but we’re happy to have them.”
Coe (6-0, 190) started two seasons for Arkansas, leaving the program before this past season to play for his father, Charles, the head coach at Alabama State.
He played free safety the first four games this past season before switching to cornerback, also ranking fifth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in punt returns with an 8.4-yard average. He was an All-SWAC selection this past season.
Coe, who played in the East-West All-Star game and the Senior Bowl, finished his college career with 100 tackles, 76 solos, and also had seven interceptions and 1.5 sacks.
“He’s a good cover guy,” Polian said. “He’s very aggressive and a good tackler. He’s not dissimilar to Daymeion Hughes.”
Polian said he believes both Coe and Hughes will challenge for jobs.
“Both of us (he and Dungy) really liked Hughes,” Polian said. “We thought he was tailor-made for our defense.”
Dungy said while Coe has return experience, “we drafted him, really, for his corner skills.”
“He’s got ball skills,” Dungy said. “He’s got talent. He’s a very smart player – a coach’s son. He’s going to fit into what we do really well.”
Dawson (6-2, 254) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds at his Texas Tech Pro Day. He played 13 games this season, with 63 tackles, four sacks and 11 quarterback hurries.
He also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles.
“He’s a very, very good pass rusher,” Polian said. “That’s his forte. He’s a guy who should fit right in with the group we have. We’ll see if he has any tackle ability. That’s something we’ll take a look at as we go through the process of mini-camp and beyond.”
So heavy was the emphasis on defense on Sunday that Dungy and Polian joked during their post-draft session with the media that they nearly came to blows, with Dungy – a coach with a defensive background – lobbying hard for an offensive player.
“We talked about some offensive guys on the second day,” Dungy said. “I tried to talk Bill into one more offensive guy. We almost had out first fistfight, but it worked out pretty well. We ended up getting the guys we really wanted and got the guys we really wanted and got the guys who were best for the team.”
Dungy quickly added, “It really wasn’t disagreement. It was just an offensive player we had rated really highly. It was the right thing to do. For what we needed, we got a good defensive player, but we passed a guy we both liked that we had rated really highly.
“It was tough to do, but it was the right thing to do.”
Polian, smiling, also stressed there was no real disagreement.
“In the interest of full disclosure in this instant-media age, Tony was engaging in a little hyperbole,” Polian said, laughing. “We didn’t have a fight. We had a slight disagreement on what we should pick where. In the end, it resolved itself. We smiled at each other throughout the whole time. It was just a discussion.”
Story Courtesy: The Indianapolis Colts
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