INDIANAPOLIS – As Kevin Rogers made the short drive up I-69 to scout Ball State’s Danny Pinter, he knew a little about the guy he was about to watch.
But the Colts Director of Pro Personnel wanted in-person confirmation.
“The coaches tell you before you go to practice, ‘Watch this guy, he finishes every rep down the field like he’s a skill guy. He’ll run out every rep,’” Rogers explains of what he had heard about Pinter. “You think it’s hogwash when you hear it, then you go out there and he does it.
“The thing that jumps out with him is the character. He’s a two-time captain, toughest guy on the team. He’s the exact type of guy we look for in a Colt.”
With Pinter being the quintessential ‘first in, last out’ guy for Ball State, that checked off a key box for the Colts.
Still, Rogers needed to see the tight end turned right tackle, and how the 6-4, 306-pound offensive lineman projected to the next level.
“You see a guy that’s maybe not the prototype for offensive tackle (where Pinter played his last two seasons in college), but then you see him sliding his feet,” Rogers says of Pinter, who ran under 4.9 in the 40-yard dash back at February’s Combine. “You see him run, get out in space and block defenders down the field. So I think from that standpoint it was pretty easy to see the athleticism. Then he goes to the NFLPA game out in California and he kicks inside to guard. He made that transition really, really easily. I watched him snap the football after practice, so I think he’s going to be able to play some center as well.”
Another position change awaits Pinter in the NFL as he slides into the interior of a professional offensive line.
In a perfect world, the Colts won’t need Pinter to start for another couple of seasons.
A contract extension for Ryan Kelly at some point, which is expected, would have all 5 of the Colts offensive line starters under contract through at least 2021
But don’t let that cloud how the Colts view Pinter.
As Day 3 of the NFL Draft got underway back in April, Chris Ballard was trying to trade up and take Pinter for about 30 minutes.
When no deals could get done, the Colts eventually still got their guy with the 149th overall selection (Round 5).
“I love Danny,” the GM says.
“Center/guard is where I think he’s going to make his hay in the league. And you want to talk about character? Believe me, this guy’s got blue character and he fits our culture. He has the traits we look for in offensive linemen.”