When looking over the Colts 90-man offseason roster, it's easy to forget this fact: outside linebacker Cam Johnson actually impressed the coaches enough to make the 53-man roster last year out of training camp and preseason, though he was placed on injured reserve after the first week of the season.
The 25-year old Johnson (6-3, 260 pounds) began his career as a seventh-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. He played in just two games for the 49ers in his first year, however, seeing little action, and shortly before the 2013 season began he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a conditional draft pick. He played in 12 games for the Colts in 2013, notching five tackles. Then in 2014, he showed enough in training camp and preseason to earn a spot on the 53-man roster for week one against the Denver Broncos, but in that game he was injured and subsequently placed on season-ending IR. He was an exclusive rights free agent this year and the Colts opted to bring him back. Johnson is a decent pass rush option and would have been counted on last year to really step up (which, in hindsight, might have hindered the emergence of Jonathan Newsome a bit). But for the talent that he has, he hasn't really shown it in the NFL yet and has been relegated to a very small role over his first three years.
The problem that Cam Johnson will run into with the Colts in 2015 is that they have more players at the outside linebacker position than they did last year. Robert Mathis will be returning (at some point) after missing all of last year, Trent Cole was signed as a free agent, Jonathan Newsome is entering his second year and looking to build off of a promising rookie year, Erik Walden figures to still factor into the position prominently, and then the Colts might still not be ready to give up on Bjoern Werner yet (we'll see). From there, players like Daniel Adongo, Cody Galea, Zack Hodges, and Cam Johnson will be competing for any remaining spots. Out of that group, Johnson would seem to stand a good chance out of that group, but considering the players who seem entrenched to make the roster, it leaves little wiggle room for Johnson's hopes of making the roster. He's a player who might be able to help the Colts and sneak on the 53-man roster, but it remains to be seen how he factors into the picture at outside linebacker considering the other talent at the position.