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Colts 2016 player preview: Wide receiver Quan Bray

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts will report to training camp on July 26 with their 90-man roster, which will be cut down to 53 players by the end of the preseason.  To pass the time until camp, we're taking a look at every player on the Colts' 90-man roster.  Today, we're looking at wide receiver Quan Bray.

Who is he?

Quan Bray (5-10, 186 pounds) is listed first and foremost as a wide receiver on the Colts roster, but he really has made an impact as a return man.  The Colts signed him as an undrafted free agent last offseason out of Auburn, where he was a decent receiver and a good return specialist, and Bray impressed in training camp.  With plenty of others ahead of him at the receiver position, however he didn't make the 53-man roster out of camp but did find a spot on the practice squad just one day after being cut.  Midway through the season, the Colts made the decision to sign Bray to the active roster in an attempt to get a boost in the return game.  Many wondered why Bray was signed from the practice squad over Duron Carter, but the Colts made it clear the answer was simple: special teams play.  That's why they signed Bray to the active roster, and he certainly didn't disappoint.  He averaged 27.1 yards per return on 21 kickoff returns (with a long of 60), while he averaged 7.9 yards per return on 21 punt returns (with a long of 33).  It's safe to say that Bray provided the biggest spark in the return game that the Colts have had in several years, which certainly prompted excitement from fans.

What is his role?

Let's get right to the point: if Quan Bray is going to make the 53-man roster, it's going to be for his impact on special teams as much as anything.  It wouldn't be particularly wise for the Colts to be hasty in moving on from a talented return specialist like Bray after only nine games, so that gives him an edge at making the roster.  Right now, he seems to be in line to make the roster mainly because of his ability as a kick and punt returner, and he was good enough last year for that to make sense.  At the same time, however, the Colts are very much lacking in depth at wide receiver after the top three on the depth chart, and they have plenty of guys on the 90-man roster looking to win the fourth or fifth receiver jobs.  Because of that, it's no guarantee that Bray will make the roster, as if a couple of other receivers are impressive enough in camp they could potentially take Bray's spot.  That would leave the return spot open, but it would add depth at receiver.  My point is this: Quan Bray will likely have to show something in training camp as a wide receiver that suggests he can at least be a decent number five wideout option.  It wouldn't be so that the Colts are planning or hoping for him to see much playing time, but just enough that the Colts can trust him for some depth at an area where the Colts need it.  If Bray shows anything as a receiver in camp and preseason, it's likely his return ability will be able to do the rest to get him on to the 53-man roster.

What are his chances?

It all comes down to how much the Colts value the return game, but Bray's ability to contribute on special teams should help him seriously compete for a spot on the 53-man roster.