Colts select Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger in the sixth round of the NFL Draft
INDIANAPOLIS — For the moment, the Colts are going to be young and unproven at quarterback behind Carson Wentz.
Indianapolis used its sixth-round pick, No. 218, to select Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, finally adding a fourth arm to a roster that had carried just Wentz, Jacob Eason and Jalen Morton through most of the season.
Ehlinger, a four-year starter for the Longhorns who played in 46 games in Austin, is an experienced, tough passer who completed 62.5 percent of his passes in college, posted two 3,000-yard seasons and likely would have made it three if Texas had played more than 10 games in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.
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The 6-1, 220-pound quarterback is also a battering ram of a runner who isn’t afraid to look for contact and rushed for 1,907 yards and 33 touchdowns in four seasons, topping out at 663 rushing yards in 2019. With all of that mobility and power in the running game, there has been some talk that Ehlinger might be able to play a specialty role as a runner at the quarterback position, but the former Texas star initially downplayed that idea.
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“Teams haven’t really talked about that,” Ehlinger said. “It’s been understood that I’m here to play quarterback, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team win.”
The Colts spent a lot of time interviewing the Texas quarterback, who played at the Senior Bowl and gave them a good look at leadership ability that was renowned at Texas.
“I had a lot of great meetings with them, just talking ball,” Ehlinger said. “I can’t wait for what’s to come.”
What’s to come is likely getting his feet wet in the NFL behind Wentz, who Ehlinger has long admired for his Audience of One foundation, and Eason, a quarterback Ehlinger knows from going to passing camps with him in the past.
Ehlinger plans to soak in any of the information they have to offer.
“Learning as much as possible,” Ehlinger said.
If the Colts don’t add a veteran quarterback before training camp, the Ehlinger selection also likely paves the way for Indianapolis to get a long, close look at Eason, last year’s fourth-round pick, and find out what they have in a quarterback the Colts liked last season.
Forced to focus on getting Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett ready for the regular season, the Colts gave Eason just 36 throws in training camp last year, and the Washington passer hasn’t taken a snap against an opposing team in the NFL yet.
But the Colts think there is a chance Eason could be Wentz’s backup after being impressed with the way he soaked up information, and they need to give him the practice snaps to prove himself. If Ehlinger and Morton are the other two quarterbacks in the room, Indianapolis can focus on getting training-camp snaps to Wentz and Eason, evaluating what they have while bringing along another rookie quarterback to develop.