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Colts feel second-round pick Dayo Odeyingbo (Achilles) worth the wait, even if it's not until 2022

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Not getting drafted never crossed the mind of Indianapolis Colts rookie defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo.

The former Vanderbilt player knew he would hear his named called at some point during the three-day NFL draft.

When it was going to happen was anybody’s guess, though. It’s not because Odeyingbo is a fringe NFL player. He’s definitely an NFL player. The question was how far his stock would fall after Odeyingbo tore his Achilles while working out in California to prepare for the Senior Bowl in January.

Odeyingbo’s agent and the teams he met with were telling him he shouldn’t drop too far in the draft due to the injury. But the reality is, those were only words, and they didn’t mean as much as actions.

The Colts backed up those words when they selected him with the 54th overall pick.

“This kid is a unique, unique talent," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said. “We would have considered him in the first round if he hadn’t got injured and I think a lot of other teams would have. To be honest with you, I was kind of sweating it out at where we were picking, if we were going to be able to get him, because we had kind of targeted him.

“There’s no timeline on when he’s going to be ready. We’ll let the young man get healthy and when he’s ready to go, he’ll go."

Not everybody viewed Odeyingbo in the same way as the Colts. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., in his draft grades column said he felt Odeyingbo “went a little high" based off his rankings because of the injury. With that said, though, Kiper also added that he might “look silly” when he does re-grades in a few years if Odeyingbo is able to get back to the way he was playing prior to the injury.

“An injury like that can hurt your stock, but the coaches and the organization are pretty confident in technology and the trainers’ ability to get me back and fully recovered,” Odeyingbo said. “I know it’s not necessarily a one-year investment. It’s an investment for an entire career. So, I think that’s kind of the mentality that they had when they took that risk on me and chose me."

Patience with injured players is something the Colts, unfortunately, are familiar with. Ballard had no problem having quarterback Andrew Luck sit out the entire 2017 season following right shoulder surgery that winter.

Odeyingbo knows there’s no certainty that he’ll play even one snap this season.

“The goal is to be back playing this year, so that’s what I’m working towards,” he said. “That will play out how it plays out ... Everybody wants to get back as fast as possible, but you have to deal with these injuries the right way. You don’t want to push anything too hard, make it worse or set you back.”

The hope is everybody will have a chance to see "Hurricane Dayo" cause havoc on the field in 2021.

Who is Hurricane Dayo?

That’s the name Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown gave Odeyingbo as he watched hours and hours of tape of him.

“He earned the nickname,’’ Brown said. “Some kids, you pop the tape on and it might not even be 10 plays or so, and you just kind of drop the remote. There were some things he was doing that are so unique, not just trait-wise, but he showed an ability to kind of dominate the game in stretches. As you’re watching the kid, it just came into my head. It paints a clearer picture for everyone to see. He was, like, literally a tropical storm. Hurricane Dayo is coming to Indy and we’re glad to have him here.”

What does Odeyingbo think of his nickname?

“I definitely see where the name comes from,’’ he said. “I definitely would like to live up to it. I think it’s a solid way to describe how I play, that disruption I bring to the game. I like the name. I hope it sticks. I’m excited to get out there and let the hurricane loose.’’

In 41 games at Vanderbilt, Odeyingbo had 122 tackles and 8.0 sacks. The Colts envision Odeyingbo teaming up with first-round pick Kwity Paye to be the bookends on the edge for years to come, the same way Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney teamed together to cause havoc on opposing quarterbacks for so many years with the Colts.

“I have never in my 50 years sat there in a 24-hour period and got two edge rushers like this back-to-back,’’ owner Jim Irsay said. “It’s remarkable as it is landing Carson [Wentz] and those things falling together at the right time.

“These guys are heavyweights. They’re not outside linebackers that you don’t know what they’re going to do at the point, and can they bull rush and do they have a speed rush? These guys are strong, heavyweight guys with great athletic ability and speed. We’re a completely different football team with these rushers and Carson Wentz at quarterback. That changes everything.’’

Now it’s a matter of when Odeyingbo will get on the field.