Former IU center hopes to be the next Hoosier lineman to make the league
When Harry Crider reminisces about the Indianapolis Colts’ glory days, his first thoughts don’t drift to Peyton Manning, or Marvin Harrison or Edgerrin James or Dwight Freeney.
He thinks instead of Jeff Saturday, the franchise’s longtime, legendary center. Saturday was the standard for the position while Crider was growing up as a diehard fan in Columbus, Ind., and soon, the former IU offensive lineman hopes to get his shot in the league alongside the kind of linemen he’s long admired.
Although Crider is no lock to be selected in this week’s NFL Draft, he could receive an opportunity to prove himself as a priority free agent after the seven-round event concludes on Saturday. Right now, though, Crider is simply excited to be in a position to join the league in whichever capacity a team might have him.
“It’s pretty wild,” Crider said earlier this spring. “Just a year or so ago, I didn’t know if I would be in the pros. But here I am now and I’m happy with how far I’ve come. I’m excited to take the next step.”
A regular on IU’s offensive line from 2017 through this past season, Crider developed into a versatile player capable of manning all three interior spots for the Hoosiers. According to Pro Football Focus, he logged 935 snaps at center, 874 snaps at left guard and nine snaps at right guard during his four-year career in Bloomington, earning All-Big Ten honorable mention recognition as a senior.
Although he’s most comfortable at center, Crider hopes his range at each of the interior positions helps get him a look from an NFL front office in the weeks to come.
“I hope (scouts) see that I’m a consistent, tough, smart player,” Crider said. “I have all the highest attributes skill-wise, but I’m a hard worker, a smart guy and dependable. I think that shows up in the film.”
At IU’s Pro Day earlier this month, Crider reportedly did 31 reps at 225 pounds — the second-highest total among centers, per NFLcombineresults.com. Drafttek.com ranks Crider as the No. 14 center in the class, while CBS Sports considers Crider to be the No. 17 interior lineman and the No. 182 overall player on its most recent big board.
Indiana has had success producing NFL-caliber offensive linemen in recent years, as three of the Hoosiers’ past five draft picks have been big boys: guards Simon Stepaniak (2020), Wes Martin (2019) and Dan Feeney (2017). But even if Crider isn’t selected on Day 3 of the draft, he doesn’t have to look far for an undrafted success story. Crider’s former linemate, Brandon Knight, went undrafted in 2019, but latched on with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. Over the past two seasons, Knight has played in 20 games for the Cowboys, including 10 starts.
“Being a younger guy in this program and seeing those guys develop and go to the next level, and learning from them and their leadership roles and skills and techniques on the field, it’s been a great experience,” Crider said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better. (Offensive line coach Darren) Hiller did a good job of bringing me individually up out of high school to where I am now. He did a great job with the entire line. There are great people all around this program.”
And this weekend, Crider hopes to be one of the next great Hoosiers to make it big.
Crider Draft Profile
Weight: 307 pounds
NFL.com assessment, per Lance Zierlein
Team captain with basketball and wrestling background in high school.
Has starting experience at center and guard.
Adequate feet show up on skip pulls.
Works double-team blocks hip-to-hip with consistent base width.
Gains depth in pass pro for time to locate twists.
Team-oriented approach in pass protection.
Widens out and squeezes the gaps.
Feels small on tape and lacks length.
Drive in lower half is unimpressive.
Outside hands diminish core power and leverage potential.
Space-eaters are unaffected by his work.
Loses hand battles to longer opponents.
Needs to hang on against bull-rushers.