One of the positions that the Indianapolis Colts could stand to address in the upcoming NFL Draft is running back. Frank Gore is 32 years old, and finding a backup and eventual replacement for him is going to be key.
The Colts do have some other players on the roster already who could be competing for the spot too, however, including recently-signed backs Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman. The Colts addressed the position in free agency by adding those two backs as depth options, and that is in addition to the players already on the roster: Trey Williams and Tyler Varga.
Williams was on the roster for just a few games late in the season, so it's unclear what to expect from him yet. As for Tyler Varga, he might be the biggest player at the position to watch moving forward this offseason. He missed most of his rookie season last year with a concussion, but before that he had impressed and played well enough to earn a roster spot out of training camp. Before the regular season started last year, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson talked about the running back position and mentioned that he thought they had four backs with starter-level skills - including Tyler Varga in that statement. Only two of those four players mentioned are still with the team (Frank Gore and Tyler Varga), but it certainly makes Varga worth paying attention to. During the preseason, Varga rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries (3.8 yards per carry) and caught five passes for 36 yards (7.2 yards per catch). During the regular season, he played in just three games - rushing once for two yards and catching one pass for 18 yards - before suffering a concussion, one that led to him being placed on injured reserve.
"Mentally, you're just a little off," Varga told Colts.com earlier this week regarding the concussion he suffered. "That fogginess, and I had a lot of symptoms that went along with my concussion: the short-term memory, sensitivity to light and sound, just not feeling right, feeling off. That's a whole scary thing in itself, just not feeling like yourself. So that was the first thing that was kind of a relief was to feel like I'm in my own body, in my own mind again."
Now, Varga is happy to be back and working out with his teammates as he tries to build upon the promising preseason he had last year.
You see guys in here joking around and stuff again, everybody's back in the same location, and obviously I took a little hiatus but I think I'm a lot clearer now," Varga said. "I've got a lot more mental clarity than I did before."
The most important thing, of course, is that Varga is healthy now and recovered from his concussion. From a football standpoint, though, he adds a very interesting option for the team's backfield in 2016, if he can replicate his performance from last year. He's a hard runner and impressed many (including the Colts) last year, and he'll be trying to do that again this year.
Tyler Varga's return from injury in no way means the Colts won't or shouldn't look to add a running back in the upcoming draft, but it does add another player at the position that Colts fans need to pay attention to as we go through the offseason and into training camp.