Colts add defensive depth with Boiman, Schobel

Updated: September 5, 2006, 2:26 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The Indianapolis Colts continued to fine-tune their defensive depth chart on Monday, adding linebacker Rocky Boiman and end Bo Schobel, a pair of players they once faced in the division, and who could take over key backup roles this season.

 Bo Schobel
Schobel
 Rocky Boiman
Boiman

The addition of Boiman, a four-year veteran released by the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, could turn out to be an especially key acquisition, given Indianapolis' lack of experienced linebacker depth. Boiman spent the first four seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans before signing with Cowboys this spring as an unrestricted free agent, a deal that netted him a $1 million signing bonus.

Boiman, 26, subsequently got lost in the shuffle in Dallas, however, as the club assembled an impressive linebacker corps, and he went from a projected starter to an afterthought. In Indianapolis, the former Notre Dame standout will be the backup to Gilbert Gardner, the first-year starter at strongside linebacker, where the Colts lost standout David Thornton in free agency.

"Rocky has played against us and played well on special teams," coach Tony Dungy said. "He's a guy who is experienced and who can do a number of things."

A fourth-round pick in the 2002 draft, Boiman has appeared in 54 games and started 11 contests. Boiman has 113 tackles, 1½ sacks and two interceptions.

The immediate impact of Schobel, another former Titans' player, might not be as immediate as the addition of Boiman, but it provides the Colts another outside pass rusher and an upfield "edge" defender whose skills-set is a good fit for the Indianapolis scheme.

Injuries have limited Schobel, a fourth-round choice in the 2004 draft, to 13 appearances and one sack in two seasons. But at 264 pounds, and with a good first-step burst, he could evolve into a situational rusher in the Colts' scheme if he can stay healthy. The former TCU standout was one of the nation's top pass rushers in the final two seasons of his college career.

The Colts also re-signed second-year veteran offensive lineman Matt Ulrich, who made the team as free agent in 2005, after having released him over the weekend.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.