Some of you may have the same question rolling around in your football mind as I do: Who is Caesar Rayford, and where did he come from? Here is this “nobody” the Colts signed in May, most likely to be a camp body right? Well, here we all sit watching preseason Colts football and this guy is making plays and sacking quarterbacks like he is a 10 year veteran. In the three short weeks of preseason so far, Rayford has made himself, in Coach Pagano’s words, necessary. That doesn’t answer my question, though. Who is he, and where did he come from? Well, here is some insight on the Colts 2013 version of Jerrell Freeman; Caesar Rayford.
Rayford is from Spanaway, Washington, a small town just south of Seattle. He committed to the University of Washington to play defensive end. Throughout his college career though, he didn’t see much action. Rayford wasn’t someone who stood out to people. He played special teams mostly and would get in the game during key situations where a pass rush was needed. In 2007 he had his best season statistically. He recorded just ten tackles in 13 games with only 4 sacks- nothing too outrageous. After his college career, Rayford entered the NFL draft and went undrafted.
Caesar was able to pick up a professional career in the CFL by signing with the B.C. Lions. He was only a practice squad player. He hung on that roster until the next season right before the end of training camp and was cut loose. Rayford was then picked up by the Spokane Shock, an AFL team, which lasted one season. Rayford then took his talents to Utah where he signed up with the Utah Blaze, another AFL team. It was in Utah where he began to hone his skills. In his first season with Utah, Rayford amassed 17 tackles, 6 sacks and two interceptions in which he took to the house. In 2011, he was named to the first team All-Arena when he got 31 tackles and 10 sacks. In 2012, Rayford was a part of the “Sack Lake City” for the Utah Blaze. They were dubbed this for the amount of pressure and the amount of sacks that the defensive had. Rayford himself turned in a performance of 3.5 sacks in one game.
We now come full circle. In May 2013, Rayford signed with the Colts. Ryan Grigson has an eye for talent, there is no denying that. This signing, though, smelled of “camp body”- but boy, was I wrong. Rayford has done well since joining the Colts. In camp, he listens and learns. During the games, he puts what he has learned to work. He has done such a good job that he now leads all defensive players during the preseason in sacks. Not only has he been a menace to the quarterbacks during the preseason, he has been putting his nose in on any play that is around him, and some that aren’t. After watching the first defensive unit get no sacks against the Browns on Saturday, the secondary guys came in. Enter Caesar Rayford. He played amazingly and everyone took notice, even the coaches. This guy has definitely earned his roster spot this preseason. I have already named him, albeit extremely early for this, the 2013 version of Jerrell Freeman- another former CFL player that took the NFL by storm. Now, can Rayford have the same impact that Freeman had last year? I’m not sure, but it’s going to be fun watching him try.