The Colts have a need at linebacker for the present and the future because Jerrell Freeman, who started at middle linebacker the past four seasons, signed with Chicago last month. D'Qwell Jackson, the Colts other starting middle linebacker, turns 33 years old in September.
Sio Moore and Nate Irving are players currently on the roster who will compete for Freeman's vacant spot. Moore, who the Colts acquired in a trade with Oakland last September, was inconsistent last season, finishing with just 13 tackles. Irving was placed on injured reserve in December because of a wrist injury. He had 14 tackles in eight games.
"We've got some guys right now in this building in that group," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. "We've got some guys, we're just kind of trying to find out if we've got some dudes. You know what I'm saying? So that's going to hopefully shake out. ... They've both been starters before that have been productive. One on a top-five defense (Irving) and the other with really high sack numbers for an inside backer along with high tackle production (Moore). It's again, it's about the abilities that I talked about before."
Goodson, who was one of the standouts at the NFL combine in February, led Clemson in tackles last season with 108, including 14 for a loss, while also having 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble. He's projected to go as early as the third round in next week's draft.
"There are some players that have speed in this class, maybe the size isn't quite there," Grigson said about the linebackers in this year's draft class. "It's a great Catch-22 because you want to be able to come downhill, be able to stop the run against the power running teams, but it is a passing league. So if you have guys that are so called 'thumpers,' that have to get off the field on third down and you take them too early, I mean, that doesn't make much sense to me either. It's finding that balance and if you can find a guy that can play all four downs; they're few and far between."