Unless the Indianapolis Colts (3-7) make a miraculous run at things following their Week 11 bye, the playoffs aren’t the storyline to look for. Instead, this week I am pointing out several others that I am watching instead.
Preparing for the Future
Oftentimes, when teams realize their seasons will not amount to reaching the postseason, it is time to start getting a better look at some of their younger players who they think might be worth keeping around. Much of the Colts’ 2017 draft class fits the bill.
With Frank Gore almost certainly on the outs, the Colts have been grooming Marlon Mack to become more of a well-rounded, three-down back. With Gore and Mack being the only two running backs that ever see playing time, there is a good chance that Mack sees more snaps and touches.
The Colts also selected a pair of linebackers, Tarell Basham on the edge and Anthony Walker playing off of the ball. Basham is stuck behind Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, who have both been excellent this year. It’s a good problem to have, but he does need some playing time. With Barkevious Mingo also playing well in Simon’s absence, the Colts have a predicament to weigh.
While Basham does see a handful of defensive snaps each week, Walker hasn’t seen any defensive playing time at all. He had a hamstring injury for a good portion of the season but has now been active for four games and has only been in on special teams. The Colts have two very mud-footed starting inside linebackers in Jon Bostic and Antonio Morrison. I’ve always been under the impression that those two are the starters because the coaches are most comfortable with them, mentally. Well, that’s what Walker was known for in college — being a coach on the field. It’s time to get him at least something on defense.
Defensive lineman Grover Stewart is in a similar spot as Basham. He sees a handful of snaps each game but is stuck behind a very good position group. Luckily for him, he fits nose tackle best, and nose tackle Al Woods is the starting defensive lineman that plays the least amount of snaps.
As we pointed out on Monday in Part 1 (see below), cornerback Quincy Wilson fits into all of this as well. He has been out since Week 2 and played very well to that point. However, a knee issue and coaching decisions have kept him off of the field. Starters Rashaan Melvin and Pierre Desir have played outstanding, which is another thing not in Wilson’s favor. Regardless, they need to get him on the field more in some capacity. After all, he is as healthy as he’s been since his injury at this point.
Draft Pick Position
The Colts currently hold the No. 4 overall pick (depending on where you look) with their 3-7 record. Two other teams hold the same record (Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears). The three teams ahead of the Colts range from 0-2 wins. Including the Colts, teams No. 4-15 all have no more than 4 wins. What that tells you is that every game matters. Just winning a couple of games the rest of the way could be a difference of about 10 draft slots for the Colts.
Of the Colts’ remaining opponents, the Buffalo Bills (Week 14), Broncos (Week 15) and Houston Texans (Week 17) all are within two games of the Colts’ current record. If you’re part of the crowd that is jockeying for the Colts’ draft position, you’ll want to keep an eye on this.
Obviously, the higher the draft pick, the better the crop of players the Colts can choose from. Considering the Colts already have several young players to build around, adding another high-level pick in 2018 like they did in 2017 with Malik Hooker will hurry-up the rebuild of this team in no time.