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Colts 2016 player preview: Running back Tyler Varga

Thomas J. Russo-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 running back Tyler Varga.

Who is he?

Tyler Varga was one of the standouts of the preseason last year, playing well enough as an undrafted free agent to earn a roster spot.  Though he wasn't selected in last year's NFL Draft, he still had a very productive collegiate career at Yale that led to him being signed by the Colts shortly after the draft ended.  At Yale, Varga rushed for 2,985 yards and 31 touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per carry, finishing as a three-time All-Ivy selection.  He racked up 17 100-yard rushing games and three 200-yard games, and as a senior he set a school record with 26 total touchdowns and also added 1,423 rushing yards while averaging 6.1 yards per rush.  Before playing at Yale, he played at the University of Western Ontario for a season, being named the team MVP and the conference player of the year.  With the Colts last year, Varga rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in the preseason (3.8 yards per rush) while adding five receptions for 36 yards, and he impressed enough to make the team out of camp.  In the regular season, he played in three games and rushed once for two yards and caught one pass for 18.  His season ended early with a concussion -€” one that was worse than initially thought and that caused him to consider giving up football -€” and he just recently returned to practice as the offseason went on.

What is his role?

The Colts are looking for depth at running back, and Tyler Varga certainly impressed in the limited action he saw with the Colts last year.  There wasn't really enough to get a true opinion of what he can do, but it's certainly reasonable to think that he is one of the leading candidates to earn one of the depth running back spots behind Frank Gore.  Undrafted free agent Josh Ferguson, Trey Williams, and free agents Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman will be competing as well, but Varga's chances would seem to be pretty solid -€” as long as he's healthy.  That's something we can't really know right now, as it's unclear how durable Varga is and whether his concussion really is healed.  Head injuries aren't something to mess with and so it's a good thing the Colts placed him on IR last year, but that means we don't really know what to expect from him this year.  If he comes back healthy and performs like he did in his brief action last year, though, he'll definitely be very much in the mix to win a roster spot for the second straight year.

What are his chances?

It all depends on his health -€” if he's good to go, he stands a good chance of making the roster as a depth running back.