Originally posted on The Colts Authority  |  Last updated 3/13/12

A 3-4 Defensive End out of Nebraska, Jared Crick is a potential dancing partner for the Indianapolis Colts in the upcoming draft. With the assumed transition to a 3-4 defense and the shopping around of Dwight Freeney the Colts are also badly in the need of a defensive end that can hold the edge. Jared Crick is a potential guy for the Colts to take a look at early in the draft. Crick put up 29.5 tackles for a loss and 20 sacks over three years as a starter for the Cornhuskers. These are pretty impressive numbers when you consider his biggest red flag, injuries.

Laura will cover Crick’s injury history in more detail, but a quick overview makes him player number 2 with injury history that the Colts have a high chance of drafting in rounds 2-3. Crick strained his MCL in 2011 spring practices and then proceeded to tear a pectoral muscle to end his 2011 season very early. As a sophomore and junior he recorded 9.5 sacks a piece but was only capable of one before the injury brought his year to an end.

The injury for most of the season really hampered his draft prospects. Coming into the 2011 season he was expected to be a lock for a top 20 pick. Unfortunately even before Crick was injured in game 5 of the season he was underperforming. Only one sack in five games hamstrung his draft stock and he’ll likely drop into the 2nd round at best and potentially into the 3rd round.

As an actual player Crick possesses decent quickness for a defensive end. He currently holds the Nebraska record for a 10 yard time at D-Line. His combine 20 yard shuttle time was a fairly impressive 4.40. His quickness and ability to quickly change directions allows him to be a plus run defender. Crick is also a very sure tackler which reinforces his ability to defend against the run. However, there is a true negative in his run defense, his pad level. At the NFL level he is too straight up and has the potential to get pushed down the line by stronger blockers.

In pursuit and the pass rush is where he puts his greatest asset to use. Crick is an incredibly high motor player. This is something that Colts fans should appreciate with our history with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Both players make a habit of completing plays down the field. Jared Crick is the same way. He doesn’t quit until the whistles blow. Couple that with good basic technique and he has the potential to grow well in the role of an NFL DE. He possesses some of the intangibles that you can’t teach and lacks some of the skills that you can.

Overall, I’m not certain that Crick is worth spending such an early second round pick on. He’s shown flashes in the past of what he is capable of as a DE, but due to recent injuries his stock has dropped and the certainty is no longer there. He lacks the weight and strength of a traditional 3-4 and if he added some of that to his frame he’d be a little more capable. Crick has gone from a sure thing to a project in the span of about a year, but if he were there in the third round he’s a gamble worth taking. You don’t accidentally become really good as a sophomore/junior and then forget how to play football as a senior. The ability is in there somewhere, he just needs a team to be willing to take a risk on him.

Health Check, by Laura Calaway:

Crick’s injury history includes a knee injury and a torn pectoral muscle, both during the 2011 season. Crick missed a good amount of spring practice after spraining his knee, and he missed all but a few games of the season after tearing a pectoral muscle.  Despite such a difficult injury, Crick was reported to have begun bench presses as soon as 4 weeks post-surgery, and while he only participated in running events at the NFL Combine, he bench pressed 26 reps at Nebraska’s Pro Day on March 9.  I would say busting 225 pounds 26 times would qualify as proving he's returned a long way from his injury.

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