There were 256 picks in the 2015 NFL Draft and then countless other undrafted free agents signed shortly after, meaning that we'll be seeing quite a few rookies on the field by the time the season rolls around. While draft classes shouldn't be judged until a few years after the fact because teams need to be looking down the road toward the future, we also need to consider just how much rookies will help the teams in 2015.
That's exactly what NFL.com's college football analyst, Bryan Fischer, attempted to do. He compiled a list of the top 100 potential impact rookies in 2015, and the Indianapolis Colts were well-represented. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the most players on the list with six, but after that the Colts and the New Orleans Saints were tied for the second-most impact rookies with five.
The first Colt to appear on the list was the team's first round pick, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett:
36. WR Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis Colts: The Colts have a lot of talent at wideout, but there's little doubt Andrew Luck will quickly get on the same page with Dorsett, just as Luck once did with T.Y. Hilton.
Dorsett should absolutely have a significant impact as a rookie. Paired with one of the league's top quarterbacks in Andrew Luck, as well as other receivers such as T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, and Donte Moncrief to take some of the pressure off of the rookie, Dorsett could factor in to the team's offense quite a bit, most likely as a slot receiver. The Colts will surely utilize his speed and athleticism to create matchup problems, and there's little doubt that, if he can stay healthy in 2015, he should have a nice impact in 2015 for the Colts' offense.
The next Colt on Fischer's list is third round pick Henry Anderson, a defensive end:
44. DL Henry Anderson, Indianapolis Colts: He can spell Arthur Jones and be an asset in sub-packages on defense.
The selection of Anderson in the third round was perhaps my favorite move the Colts made in the draft. He is a good defensive lineman who should be able to step in as a role-player right away for the team. At worst, he should be a solid depth guy in 2015, but there's a real chance that he could get on the field and see some significant playing time as well.
Another third round pick, cornerback D'Joun Smith, also made the list:
53. CB D'Joun Smith, Indianapolis Colts: Expect him to be a quick study as the nickel corner for a team looking for a few missing pieces on the back end.
Smith figures to find a role right away as the Colts' fourth cornerback. He should get used to playing all over the field in case of injury, and he should see playing time regardless whenever someone needs a rest. He likely won't enter into the starting trio of corners (as those spots are occupied by Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, and Darius Butler), but if one of them needs a rest or if one of them gets injured, Smith could play a pretty big role as he steps in for them.
Sixth round running back Josh Robinson is the next Colt on the list:
64. RB Josh Robinson, Indianapolis Colts: A bowling ball has been the best description of Robinson, and he could be the player the team turns to in order to move the sticks.
I really liked this pick as well for the Colts, as I think Robinson was a nice value pick in the sixth round. I like what he brings to the team both as a rusher and as a receiver and I think that he has a lot of potential for the Colts to work with. Considering that the team also has running backs such as Frank Gore, Boom Herron, and Vick Ballard, Robinson will need to fight for playing time, but it's not a huge stretch to think that he could be the number two back before long and could have an impact in his rookie season.
The last Colt to make Fischer's list was fourth round safety Clayton Geathers:
85. SS Clayton Geathers, Indianapolis Colts: Geathers was a nice value pick for a team that needs safety help.
Geathers likely makes this top 100 list because of the Colts' need at the safety position. Veterans Mike Adams and Dwight Lowery figure to be the starters, but what if one of them were to get injured? The Colts would need someone else to step in, and it's a toss-up as to who that would be - and Clayton Geathers would likely stand as good of a chance as anyone. I think that the hope probably would be that Adams and Lowery play well enough and stay healthy that Geathers doesn't have a huge impact as a rookie, but if one of those things doesn't happen, then we might see Geathers enter the action in his rookie year.
If I had one disagreement with this list, it would be that defensive tackle David Parry didn't make it. I think he has the potential to have a bigger impact than Geathers and possibly even Smith or Robinson, depending on how the season goes. Josh Chapman is the team's nose tackle right now, but if Parry could play in a situational role there as well.
What are your thoughts on this list?