INDIANAPOLIS – In his 5 years of Chris Ballard drafts, it is hard pressed to find another draft pick the GM has loved more than Dayo Odeyingbo.
When Ballard reached out to those in SEC country during the evaluation process, it was Odeyingbo’s name that routinely came up.
Ballard wasn’t the only one in the Colts draft room enamored with the Vanderbilt defensive lineman.
Director of College Scouting Morocco Brown coined the nickname ‘Hurricane Dayo’ for the player the Colts eventually chose No. 54 overall back in April.
“Watching this kid in December when you really want to see how kids finish up the year, and some guys you pop on the tape and it might not even be 10 plays or so and you just drop the remote,” Brown explains, referencing Odeyingbo. “There were things he was doing that were so unique, not just trait-wise, but he showed an ability to dominate the game in stretches.
“The nickname just kind of came to my head, a clear picture for everybody to see. He was like literally a tropical storm. Hurricane Dayo is coming to Indy and we’re glad to have him here.”
Simply, Ballard thinks Odeyingbo has some special, special traits, too.
The Colts GM loves the body control that Odeyingbo plays with at 6-6 and 275 pounds, drawing comparisons to former Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck.
When Odeyingbo recovers from his torn Achilles, the Colts will likely start him out at left defensive end, and then move him to the middle of the D-line as passing downs arise.
“Run downs, he’s going to shut it down over there, then you can really put him anywhere,” Brown says of Odeyingbo. “The NFL’s about matchups, you can flop him at right end if you want him to bull (rush) an undersized left tackle, you can keep him at left end. He can probably play some nose (tackle). I’m excited to get him out there and get him next to DeForest (Buckner). That should be fun to look at.
“I think we got a lot better with his versatility.”
When diving deeper into the Odeyingbo scouting report, Brown discovered a trait that is hard to come by for defensive lineman weighing north of 270 pounds.
Despite a frame that is right up there with anyone else in the Colts D-line room, Odeyingbo’s effort is something the Colts took note of.
“I’d like to say his motor,” Brown says of what stands for the most. “He just keeps coming after you. Keeps coming. Keeps coming. Eventually, he’s just beating the door down on those guys.
“The guy never came out of the game. In college football these days, you’re playing 80-85 snaps. They’d have to drag him off the field (at Vandy). He has that durability, and he has that motor. You go to practice, and he’s running the gassers at the end of practice with the DBs and the linebackers.”
The Colts know some patience will be needed with Odeyingbo, with that Achilles rehab impacting his rookie season.
But they see the, major, potential gift.
“We likely won’t see the real guy this year, but we are willing to wait,” Ballard says.
“We think the reward is going to be great.”