Some of the biggest question marks entering the offseason for the Indianapolis Colts were their run defense and their defensive line. Specifically talking about the defensive line, the team lost Cory Redding and cut Ricky Jean Francois but signed Kendall Langford in free agency and drafted Henry Anderson and David Parry. Those are solid moves, but there are still some questions about the line. And for those questions, the Colts are hoping that some of the players they already have on the roster will be able to step up and help answer them. One such player is Kelcy Quarles.
Quarles (6-4, 312 pounds) played collegiately at South Carolina from 2011-2013, where he played in 35 games (starting 28) and racked up 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. In 2013, he was named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press and a first-team All-American by the Sporting News after racking up 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. But while he was originally expected to be a second or third round pick, he ended up going undrafted after declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft after his junior season. He was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent but was cut as part of final roster cutdowns after preseason. The New England Patriots claimed him off of waivers but released him a few days later, signing him to their practice squad shortly after that. After just over a week on the Patriots' practice squad, the Colts signed him to their active roster, where he stayed for just over two months before getting waived. The Colts then signed him to their practice squad, where he ended the year with the team, and signed him to a reserve/futures contract earlier this year. In two games with the Colts last year, Quarles recorded one tackle and one pass defensed.
There certainly is talent to work with when it comes to Quarles, as he obviously excelled at South Carolina and was once thought to be a high draft choice. Things didn't work out that way, however, and so far in the NFL, things haven't worked out his way either. In his first year in the league he was with three different teams and played in just two games. Will his second season be better? That remains to be seen, but right now with the Colts he has a legitimate chance to earn a spot on the 53-man roster if he plays well in training camp and preseason. After starters Kendall Langford, Josh Chapman, and Arthur Jones, Montori Hughes and Zach Kerr, along with the rookies Henry Anderson and David Parry, would appear to have the advantage when it comes to the battle for depth spots, but the spots are not in any way so set in stone that Quarles couldn't win one of them if he impresses. That is what he will try to do, and we'll have to wait and see if he plays well enough to supplant someone for a spot on the 53-man roster.