Colts Select Tarleton State Linebacker EJ Speed In Round Five Of 2019 NFL Draft
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INDIANAPOLIS – The all-name draft for the Indianapolis Colts continued in the latter part of Round 5, with linebacker EJ Speed coming at pick No. 169.
Speed hails from Division II Tarleton State University and believes he will play WILL linebacker in Indianapolis.
Here are 3 thoughts on the Colts drafting Speed:
1. Another ‘Speedy’ Linebacker
The 6-4, 230-pound Speed says ‘speed’ is the best part of his game in trying to make the jump from the Division II level.
Speed did not have the chance at Tarleton State to prove himself against DI competition, and didn’t play in an All-Star game, but his athletic traits are in the elite percentile.
A former high school quarterback, then turned receiver, who eventually moved to linebacker in 2014, Speed had 106 tackles in 2018, with 12 tackles for loss and 5 sacks.
With the Colts, Darius Leonard is the WILL linebacker and Speed now becomes the third LB drafted in 2019 by Chris Ballard. In three drafts, Ballard has selected seven linebackers, so some serious competition amongst this young group will be there come August.
2. Small School Product
On Saturday, Speed said he turned down offers to play at Oklahoma State and Colorado, among others, to stay closer to home at Tarleton State.
Speed said his adopted brother was diagnosed with cancer during his senior year of high school. The hope was for his brother to recover, and for the two of them to play collegiate football together. Unfortunately, his brother passed away before that could happen.
Now, finding Speed going up against NFL-caliber talent is difficult. That’s different from Leonard, who had collegiate film against Clemson and played in the Senior Bowl.
3. Criminal Charges Dropped
Speed was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal activity in 2018, but those chargers were recently dropped.
On his arrest, Speed said this on Saturday: "Just something that a lot of guys learned from, and distanced myself from a lot of guys who are not going in the same direction. Definitely no second stumbles or anything like that."
The Colts brought Speed in for a top-30 visit earlier this year. Speed said the topic of his arrest, and having to answer numerous questions about his character did not come up much in the draft process.
It's crazy to think that the Colts first discovered Speed less than two months ago. Before his pro day workout in Texas, the Colts had never heard of Speed. They, obviously, quickly went into full gear in vetting the prospect once they saw his eye-popping workout numbers.
Unlike previous picks for the Colts in 2019, this one does not have the same high-bar of character on the collegiate resume, although the Colts are very comfortable with the background work they did on Speed.
Colts Draft Recap