The Indianapolis Colts didn't add many defensively players in the NFL Draft, but they just might have picked the toughest.
Alabama defensive tackle Josh Chapman, taken with the Colts' first pick in the fifth round, played last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Surgery? Yeah, he needed surgery. But he had other goals first.
“I tore it on October 1, playing against Florida in the third or fourth quarter,” Chapman told reporters in a conference call. “I was told that I could have surgery or keep on playing the season. I knew I had ability left with my knee, and I wanted to win a championship.”
Doctors can perform surgery on a torn ACL, and Chapman had his in January. There's no procedure to install the kind of drive Chapman displayed in playing through the injury. Alabaman, indeed, did win a championship with Chapman playing a role.
Chapman is 6-foot-1, 316 pounds and touted as a quality run stopper that fits in the 3-4 defense being installed by Colts coach Chuck Pagano and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
“Playing the nose guard position in a 3-4 defense, you have to be a guy who is not selfish,” Chapman said. “You have got to understand your role and do your job and just play – eating up blockers and basically (creating) a whole new line of scrimmage.”
Chapman said he welcomed double teams and often faced them in college.
“My mind set was if a single guy blocks me, then that's probably a disrespect type of deal,” Chapman said. “I demand a double team and that is just the fun part of my position. You demand a double team every play and you get doubled, it's what you do with it.”
The Colts used their first four picks on offensive players (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen and wide receiver/kick returner T.Y. Hilton). After taking Chapman, the Colts closed out the fifth round by taking Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard.
The Colts last four picks were Ohio wide receiver Lavon Brazill, Georgia offensive tackle Justin Anderson, Vanderbilt outside linebacker Tim Fugger and the draft's final pick, former Norwell quarterback Chandler Harnish out of Northern Illinois University.
Chapman said he is about 50 percent back to health, but doctors expect him to be ready by training camp in July.
“I knew it was going to be tough (to be drafted early) when I decided to keep playing the season,” Chapman said. “I didn't worry about where I would end up. Whatever round, whatever team takes me.”
Asked if he is the answer to the Colts' needs for a starting nose tackle in the 3-4 defense, Chapman had a one-word answer: “Yes.”