Not many outside die hard Colts fans may know about practice squad linebacker Daniel Adongo, but from my recent roster research of the squad, this former rugby player turned NFL pass rusher has the potential to be a force to be reckoned with. The 24 year old is listed as 6’5’’ and 257 pounds and was, in fact, a highly regarded rugby player in South Africa. His highly aggressive play style on the rugby pitch and unique size had piqued the attention of the Indianapolis Colts enough to take him on as long term pass rushing project at outside linebacker. Adongo signed with the Colts on July 25 and spent the majority of training camp simply adjusting to life in the US, while trying to pick up on the most rudimentary facets of playing American football, such as actually holding a football and wearing a helmet. Adongo did not make the final 53 man roster, but made it to the final cut list on August 31st and was quickly signed to the Colts’ practice squad a day later.
From Rugby tape, it is clear to see that Adongo has elite athletic ability and stood out on the rugby pitch for his voracity in his hitting ability. From an NFL scouting perspective, other than his arduous obstacle in learning the intricacies of American football, I would expect to see Adongo struggle with the mechanics of tackling. On the rugby pitch, there is not an excessive amount of nose-to-nose tackling as there is in American football. Instead, the game relies on group tackling and aggressiveness in scrums. Adongo stood out most in the latter category, where he could be seen breaking down into a tackling technique that hints toward a proper NFL tackle, in order jar the ball out of the pile. However, it will be a different story when dealing with the suddenness of NFL runners in the open field. It is also clear from his rugby tape that he is a very fast runner for his size.
Reports indicate that Adongo is picking up the game at a good pace, but the amount of work that still needs to be done in the film room is stupendous. To see Adongo on the Colts’ active 53-man roster would be a triumph for international NFL scouting, and definitely a great story to keep an eye on.
Here are some of Adongo’s Rugby Highlights:
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