For quite a while, the return game has not been a strength for the Colts - in fact, often it has been a weakness. With all of the talk this offseason about some of the other positions there hasn’t been as much discussion about the returners, but the Colts found a solid one last year in Quan Bray.
In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, Bray was the third-highest graded return man in 2015 behind only the Dolphins’ Jarvis Landry and the Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that PFF’s grades aren’t everything and shouldn’t be taken as absolute truth, as we’ve seen made clear in recent weeks. In fact, they shouldn’t really be much more than a piece of information to add to a discussion, and that’s exactly what we’re using it for here: an opportunity to talk about Quan Bray, someone we haven’t really mentioned much this offseason.
Bray played in nine games last year for the Colts after being promoted from the practice squad, and he spent pretty much the entire time playing special teams. He returned 21 kickoffs for an average of 27.1 yards per return with a long of 60, while he also returned 21 punts for an average of 7.9 yards per return and a long of 33. He provided a spark as a returner that the Colts haven't really had in several years, so it’s certainly understandable why fans were excited about him.
This offseason, Bray was fighting a hamstring injury that caused him to miss some time, so he hasn’t been in the discussion as much. But the number four and five wide receiver spots are wide open for the Colts, and Bray’s return ability figures to help his chances. Earlier this offseason head coach Chuck Pagano talked about the depth receiver battle, and while he didn’t mention Bray he did say that “special teams obviously is going to play a key role in [determining the spots].” It’s likely that Bray will need to show at least something as a receiver in order to make the roster, but his return ability should give him a spot on the 53-man roster.