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INDIANAPOLIS Scouting, plus coaching was very evident in the Colts selecting Jaylon Carlies in the 2024 Draft.

The scouting comes from Carlies’ impressive height and weight, with rare wingspan for a back end defender.

And then the coaching comes from Colts linebackers coach Richard Smith looking at Carlies on film and seeing a guy with the traits to transition from playing safety in college to being a modern-day linebacker in the NFL.

Carlies brings a 6-2, 227-pound frame into the NFL, with a massive 6.5 foot wingspan, as those lanky arms is always something the Colts are coveting in their linebackers.

“We always think guys with length that can run have an advantage,” Chris Ballard said after the Colts took Carlies with the 157th overall pick in the 2024 Draft.

“It’s going to fit him well inside.”

What is also going to help Carlies is staff familiarity in players like him.

First, assistant linebackers coach Cato June is a former player who made a very similar positional change in his own NFL career, going from safety at the University of Michigan to NFL linebacker.

And you have linebackers coach Richard Smith, who part of the Raiders staff in 2021, along with Gus Bradley, when they took Divine Deablo in Round 3. Deablo was initially a wide receiver in college who eventually settled in at safety. When the 2021 Draft rolled around, the Raiders saw Deablo as a future linebacker, and he’s been that with 28 career starts in 40 games.

Deablo and Carlies have very similar measureables, with the Colts thinking a similar path could be there.

And part of this all stems from that scouting/coaching combo.

“Richard Smith, who I just love and think he’s a great developer of players and talent, loved him,” Ballard explained after the draft. “We liked him. Interesting background, he actually started as a freshman at corner, moved to safety and now he’s going to be a linebacker. He’s kind of grown into that role and we think he’s got a really bright future.

“Jaylon is an interesting guy, and we’re really excited.”

Even though the use of a third linebacker has started to quiet down a bit league-wide, with more passing game prevalence leading to an extra defensive back replacing the olden days of 3 LBs on the field.

But the Colts are hoping a player like Carlies could marry a bit of the physique of a “front seven” player yet also having some nice speed for the linebacker position.

Zaire Franklin is your top linebacker. E.J. Speed has turned into a player who rarely comes off the field.

After those two though, playing time is wide open.

That’s where the modern-day aspect to a player like Carlies makes for an attractive possibility.

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