The Indianapolis Colts announced that they have signed free agent linebacker Larry Lumpkin, who had gone undrafted in last week's supplemental draft. The roster move now gives the Colts 14 linebackers on the team.
Lumpkin is listed at 6-foot-0 and 234 pounds out of Carson-Newman--a private Baptist liberal arts college located in Jefferson City, Tenn. As a member of the Eagles in 2011, Lumpkin led the team with 62 solo tackles and 34 assists in 11 games. He also registered 10 tackles for loss, a half-sack, a pass broken up, a pass defended, and two quarterback hurries.
Lumpkin also played two years at Alabama A&M prior to transferring to Carson-Newman. At A&M, he racked up 82 tackles, four sacks, forced two fumbles and a fumble recovery.
He ran the 40 in 4.69 and 4.72 on a muddy surface last week in front of some NFL scouts, and he bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times.
There is a red flag, however. His former position coach at Alabama A&M told Reggie Benson of the Huntsville Times that "Larry was a playmaker for us, but he had a lot of issues. He was constantly late for meetings and he would miss practice at least one day a week. He was very undisciplined. He would have helped us, but he didn't want to be here."
Eric Galko of Scout.com also mentions that "[c]oaches seem to feel he has a sense of entitlement."
Lumpkin's agent, Chris Martin of OTG Sports, feels that these issues have been resolved, however.
"Larry is a tremendous young man and extremely talented player who has winning DNA," Martin told Aaron Wilson of Scout.com. "Despite having some missteps in his past, this kid has grown up, learned and matured from his experiences and is ready for the NFL."
Lumpkin was widely projected as a late-round supplemental draft pick or a priority free agent, and a number of NFL teams appeared to be interested in him. He is frequently described as very physically talented, as long as he can keep his focus.
This is a good move by the Colts. They have Lumpkin listed as an inside linebacker, joining Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, A.J. Edds, Jerrell Freeman, Mario Harvey, and Scott Lutrus, so he'll have his work cut out for him during the preseason.
Mario Addison, Jerry Brown, Dwight Freeney, Tim Fugger, Justin Hickman, Jerry Hughes, and Robert Mathis are listed at outside linebacker, giving the Colts a total of 14 middle defenders.
But if Lumpkin is as physically talented as his college coaches say and if he can keep his head screwed on straight, the Colts may have uncovered a diamond in the rough.
It's a win-win situation. Lumpkin gets the opportunity to prove that he belongs in the NFL while the Colts haven't invested anything in him--such as a 2013 draft pick--by waiting on him to clear the supplemental draft.
The author is a resident of central Indiana and a longtime fan of the Colts. He is also a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @RedZoneWriting and on Facebook.
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