A closer look at Colts' two new defensive tackles

April, 26, 2009
4/26/09
2:58
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Defensive tackle upgrading has been a priority for Indianapolis in this draft.

After the Colts took 6-foot-4, 305-pound Fili Moala from USC in the second round, Bill Polian talked about why he's a good fit.

"We like his length. We like his toughness. We like his effort," Polian said. "The speed is good. He's very different than what we're used to having. That's fine. We felt like it was a departure in the right direction...

"This guy isn't necessary the 'big buy' in the middle. He's a bigger guy than we've had. We still need length. We still need athleticism. We still need change of direction. The under tackle is still a guy that has to be able to get through the gap and disrupt. It's hard to win consistently with 275-pound guys in there. It helps if they are 290 to 300. The nose tackle is another story. He could even be bigger if you could find one."

After they took a second defensive tackle, Michigan's Terrance Taylor, with a fourth-round pick, I wanted to see what Scouts Inc. had to say about the two new Indy interior linemen.

Scouts Inc. breaks DTs into five position specific categories: Agility/quickness, strength/toughness, instincts, pass rusher and run stopper.

They had Moala as average in four categories and above average in instincts:

"Locates the ball quickly. Does a sound job of getting hands up in throwing lanes when sees quarterback start throwing motion. Times jumps well when trying to block field goal attempts."

Taylor was rated as below average in agility/quickness and as a pass rusher, and average on instincts.

But Scouts Inc. says he is above average in the two other categories.

Strength/toughness:

"Rare upper body strength and lower body strength appears more than adequate on film. Plays with a mean streak. Frequently spelled on film (2007 Penn State and Notre Dame games as well as the 2008 Purdue game) and may lack ideal endurance."

Run stopper:

"Does an above-average job of keeping shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and can anchor against double teams when plays with a wide base, though base admittedly narrows at times. Extends arms once locked on making it tough for blockers to get into frame and flashes the ability to shed blocks in time to make play. Isn't a sideline-to-sideline run defender and isn't going to make many plays in pursuit, though not for lack of effort (see first quarter of the 2008 Purdue game)."

That last piece is big. If Taylor is able to draw double teams as a run defender, the Colts will have plenty of quick defenders able to read plays and get to the ball carrier.

With Moala at 305 and Taylor at 306, the Colts now have four 300-pounders inside to sort through.

Daniel Muir (312) didn't play in six of 16 games last season after he was claimed off waivers from Green Bay. Antonio Johnson (310) was more effective after he was signed off the Titans' practice squad, playing in all eight games after making the move and starting the final four.

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