Unfortunately for Dewey McDonald, his most notable play from his rookie season in 2014 was also his worst play. With the Colts off to a slow start in Dallas and trailing 7-0 early against the Cowboys, the team was backed up deep in their own territory and facing a 4th down and 11. In need of a spark, the Colts turned to their All-Pro punter Pat McAfee, who instead of punting the football launched a pass downfield intended for McDonald, a special teams gunner who had a few steps on the Dallas defender scrambling to catch up. It was a perfectly executed play and a perfect pass to the open McDonald… and he dropped it.
While that was the most notable play that McDonald made (or didn't make) in 2014, he actually had a very solid season. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Cal (PA), McDonald stuck with the Colts for the entirety of the offseason and training camp, being waived during final roster cuts after the preseason. Shortly after that, however, he was signed to the team's practice squad, where he stayed for the first month of the season. Before week five, the Colts signed him to the active roster and he played in the remaining 12 games on the team's schedule and the three playoff games as well. In 15 games combined, McDonald recorded 13 tackles, seeing a lot of action on special teams and being one of the best players on the special teams unit on the season.
He didn't see many reps at safety, but his special teams play resulted in him sticking around with the Colts, something that is certainly good for his development on the defensive side of the football as well. With that said, though, again in 2015 he will enter training camp competing for a roster spot. Veterans Mike Adams and Dwight Lowery look to be the starting safeties, while the team drafted Clayton Geathers, re-signed Colt Anderson, signed Robert Smith as an undrafted free agent, and reportedly like Winson Guy a lot. So where does McDonald fit into that mix? That's a complicated question and one that is essentially impossible to answer right now. It's unlikely that he would factor into a competition for the starting spot, as the two veterans seem to have a hold on that position, and even then guys like Anderson or Geathers would almost certainly be ahead of McDonald. What he will be trying to do in training camp is show enough potential at safety, plus continue on with his special teams skills, to make him worth keeping around. As head coach Chuck Pagano loves to say, players need to make themselves necessary. For Dewey McDonald, that's his job - whether it's through special teams or through the safety position, he needs to make himself necessary to the Colts.