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Knights in the NFL: Kemoko Turay drafted by Colts

2nd round, 52nd overall selection brings him to Indianapolis

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Rutgers
Havoc like this is what attracted NFL teams.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The “Kemoko Dragon” had his name called in the 2018 NFL draft and his destination is Indianapolis. Yesterday Aaron speculated on potential landing spots for the edge rusher but several of them didn’t even get the chance in the 2nd round to take Turay. Indianapolis was already making their third choice of the second round as they traded down a few times to get more draft selections. They clearly feel they need to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks as the Colts finished 31st in the NFL in sacks a season ago, and will benefit from Turay’s sheer athletic ability out of the chute with potential to continue to develop an all-around game.

This is the earliest a player was drafted from Rutgers since 2010, when Anthony Davis and Devin McCourty were first round picks.

Turay only played one year of high school varsity football. He had already been offered a scholarship to Rutgers after a dominant camp performance in Piscataway when he led New Jersey high schoolers in sacks as a senior (18.5). After a redshirt year, Kemoko exploded on the scene as a redshirt freshman on the surprising 2014 Scarlet Knights. Had he left college following that season (would have been a big mistake) his upside made him a possible second round pick even then. Instead he had two injury plagued campaigns before showing a more well rounded game as a senior to justify the high selection.

Turay accumulated tackles in his final season to show production that is closer to, but still not close to his physical talent. Considering the team had no other elite pass rusher, the Rutgers coaching staff deployed him in multiple roles, including at least one instance at middle linebacker. Kemoko opened eyes at the Senior Bowl but unfortunately injured himself at the NFL Combine. Despite that, he ran a 4.65 40 yard dash and projected anywhere from the 2nd to 5th rounds. Of course edge rusher is the most coveted position in today’s NFL other than quarterback, so teams are forced to reach based on potential and the Colts did with the 20th choice in round 2 (52nd overall).

Indianapolis has their quarterback in Andrew Luck, but after several injury plagued campaigns, needs to add talent at virtually every position. With so many picks, they climb back toward contention in the suddenly treacherous AFC South, one of the top divisions in the NFL. In recent memory, two former Scarlet Knights have had success in Indy, undrafted former walk on Gary Brackett, who became a captain of the 2009 AFC Champions, plus All-American Eric Foster. Foster was also a member of the Indianapolis squad that reached Super Bowl XLIV.

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Enjoy the moment Rutgers and Colts fans, but soon NFL mini camps begin May 4.