Colts Add Speed Rusher Marcus Howard
Marcus Howard (Chris Graythen/Getty)
Marcus Howard (Chris Graythen/Getty)
Managing Editor,
Posted Apr 27, 2008

The Indianapolis Colts added to their pass rush by selecting defensive end Marcus Howard with their fifth-round pick in the NFL Draft. Learn more about Howard and what the Colts like about him in's report.

Once again, accurately predicted the selection of Howard. Analyst Brad Keller identified Howard as a good fit for the Colts and forecast the Colts would take the Georgia pass rusher in the fourth round and tight end Jacob Tamme in the fifth.

Instead, it was Tamme in the fourth and Howard in the fifth, but the bottom line is the Colts got the players they were targeting and should feel happy with their work in these rounds.

Georgia's Marcus Howard levels Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan in the Sugar Bowl
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Howard compares favorably to another undersized pass rusher already on the Colts' roster — Robert Mathis.

Like Mathis, Howard is undersized (6 feet, 2 inches, 235 pounds) to play defensive end in the NFL and most projected him as an outside linebacker. Like Mathis, the Colts took him with the intention to turn him into a defensive end that will get pressure on the quarterback.

"[Howard is] highly explosive and [has] the speed to pose a real problem for a lot of tackles in nickel," Tom Marino,'s resident scouting expert and a 35-year veteran of NFL Draft war rooms, said. "Physical explosive tackler ... Plays fast and is very tough, but can never be an every-down guy ... Robert Mathis clone."

Howard had 41 total tackles for Georgia in 2007, with 15 of those going for losses. His 10 1/2 sacks placed him tied for 18th in the country in that category, so he has the ability to get to the quarterback, a trait the Colts need in a third defensive end behind Mathis and Dwight Freeney.

What really got people's attention with Howard, however, is the game he had in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, where he forced two fumbles, returned one for a touchdown and was named the first defensive MVP in the game's history as the Bulldogs rolled to a 41-10 win over Hawaii.

Howard has a nose for the football and the quarterback. If his undersized body holds up at the pro level, he could be an excellent value pick for Indianapolis — just as Mathis was in the fifth round five years ago.

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