All throughout the season and offseason leading up to free agency, we frequently discussed the Colts’ biggest needs. We did so again leading up to the NFL Draft. But now that the majority of roster construction has been completed, it’s a good time to take a look at the roster to see what the biggest question mark left is.
And I’d argue that it’s still at linebacker, the same it’s been all along.
To be sure, the Colts did seem to get better across the four linebacker positions. At outside linebacker, they signed Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, two players who could be immediate contributors. They drafted Tarell Basham in the third round, hoping that he can provide some pass rush help. They added Barkevious Mingo in free agency too, and they have Akeem Ayers still on the roster.
At inside linebacker, they signed Sean Spence and Jon Bostic and drafted Anthony Walker to add to a position that already had Edwin Jackson, Antonio Morrison, and Luke Rhodes. But at both spots, the questions still remain.
The Colts probably improved against the run from the outside linebacker position, and the hope is that Basham and Ayers will be able to step up and rush the passer, something that Sheard and Simon can do occasionally as well. The big question here still focuses on the pass rush, and that’s one that still remains unanswered - we’ll have to wait and see it on the field.
I’d argue the bigger question is at inside linebacker, however, because it’s the most wide open position group on the roster. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess who will wind up starting. My early guess would be Jackson and Spence, but any number of possibilities could happen. Anthony Walker earning a starting spot wouldn’t be surprising; Antonio Morrision working his way into the lineup is possible; etc. I think several of those guys are solid and could be capable players behind an improved defensive line, but none of them are without question marks. There aren’t any great players in that mix, and that’s part of what’s feeding into the wide open competition.
I think the linebacking corps are still the area with the most question marks on the roster for the Colts even though Chris Ballard made a number of moves there this offseason. The pass rush will continue to be a big question mark until some of these guys can show the ability to get after the quarterback, but I’d argue that the inside linebacker position is an even bigger question mark because we don’t even know who will be starting and playing there, much less how effective they’ll be.
What about you: what do you think the biggest question mark on the Colts’ roster is as we head into OTAs?