Colts Scouting: Mike Derice Evaluates Robert Windsor
Phillip B. Wilson
INDIANAPOLIS — When watching Penn State defensive tackle Robert Windsor, Indianapolis Colts area scout Mike Derice took notice of performance in games against elite competition.
Windsor, who utilizes tremendous technique, always stood out.
That’s why the Colts selected him in the sixth round with the 193rd overall choice in April’s NFL draft.
“I think Robert is going to be a really good pro,” Derice said in a Zoom video conference call after the draft. “Robert has had success at a very high level. He knows how to play with technique with his hands, and obviously (he has) the motor and the effort that he plays with, but he’s really a student of the game.
“It’s really undeniable how hard he played. He really loves the game. I don’t know if there’s much for him to really work on, just to continue to refine the tools that he has, and continue to play with that type of effort. He’ll be an excellent wave player for us. He has enough in his body as an athlete and his size to be a really good football player on the interior D-line for us.”
At 6-4 and 290, some draft analysts suggested he was undersized to play inside, but the Colts don’t see that. They envision a versatile player who can play different techniques.
“At Penn State, he was a three-technique for the majority of his junior year,” Windsor said. “This (past) season, he played more one-technique. For us, he can do either or. We’ll probably initially see him as a one-technique, but he has the flexibility to play both inside positions. He has get-off, he has speed off the ball. He knows how to win early on the down to be disruptive in the vertical pass-rush game, a vertical disruption kind of guy, and his effort will get him to close onto the quarterback.
“He can stuff the run, but the qualities that make Rob special is that he’s able to win with the quickness of the ball and his hands. So he’ll be able to disrupt, stop the feet of the running back in the running game because he’s going to be in the backfield before the guard gets a chance to really grab onto him. That’s the one thing I thought he did special. You watch the Iowa game, you watch the Ohio State game, the Michigan game, you see that he beat NFL-level guards and centers off the snap and was forcing the running back to run the banana or stop his feet. That’s what he can do at our level.”
Derice reiterated Windsor’s ability to penetrate and use those hands and quick feet means he won’t need to add size.
“He doesn’t need to gain the weight to play one-technique in our style of defense, where we’re trying to get some vertical disruption,” Derice said. “He’s OK at 290. We’ve played with guys at the one-technique at that weight before. He doesn’t need to gain the weight. The key for him is how to beat the guard and center before they get to the block point. He can do that, with the quickness off the ball.”
(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is email@example.com.)