The Indianapolis Colts are in their first week of OTAs for the offseason, and yesterday members of the media were able to get their first real look at the Colts in team drills.
After the practice, Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen wrote about what the first-team depth chart was from the day’s practice, which is very helpful and informative to get an idea of what the Colts are looking like early.
Some of the ‘starters’ yesterday were only there for injury reasons, such as Scott Tolzien taking the reps for Andrew Luck or T.J. Green at safety for Malik Hooker/Clayton Geathers or Rashaan Melvin at cornerback for Quincy Wilson or Joe Haeg at left guard for Jack Mewhort. And then Robert Turbin saw first team reps with Frank Gore working out in Florida.
But even still, there were three things that I though particularly interesting from the depth chart Bowen tweeted out that I think are worth mentioning here.
We shouldn’t read too much at all into the first team offensive line from Tuesday’s practice since Jack Mewhort was held out (he worked on Monday but was held out on Tuesday as a precautionary measure as the Colts work him back slowly; he’ll practice again on Thursday). But nonetheless, there are still some interesting tidbits to point out. Joe Haeg filled in for Mewhort at left guard, which meant that Denzelle Good stepped up and saw the first team reps at right guard. He’s probably getting those first team reps in large part because he’s familiar with the team and the position, so I would expect Brian Schwenke to work himself into the picture with Good too. But if Good continues to see significant reps there, it could give us an indication that the Colts like him a bit more than we thought. It seems likely that Haeg will start at right guard and that Le’Raven Clark will start at right tackle, but when talking about depth purposes Denzelle Good might be one of the more interesting ones to see what the Colts do with him.
Injuries also are impacting the defensive line, as Kendall Langford is still going through rehab. But Bowen wrote that the first team defensive line in practice on Tuesday was David Parry at nose tackle, Johnathan Hankins at defensive tackle, and Henry Anderson at defensive end. So it remains to be seen how Langford will fit into that group, but two things stand out. Firstly, David Parry is seeing first team reps. Like Good, that might be simply because he’s familiar with the team whereas other additions aren’t, but it also means that he should have plenty of opportunities to prove he belongs this offseason and training camp. Secondly, Johnathan Hankins playing at defensive tackle confirms what we’ve heard this offseason from him and the Colts: that he can play all over the defensive line. We haven’t yet received a commitment from either side on where he’ll play, so it’s most likely that he’ll be moved around quite a bit. Chuck Pagano was once again noncommittal yesterday about whether Hankins will play multiple spots or what his role will be. “Time will tell,” he said. “I said the same thing that I wanted to play all spots, but I was relegated to box safety. He’s in shorts. I’ve seen the film on him and he’s a talented guy. He’s a big man and he’s strong. To this point, he’s doing really well. Again, time will tell.”
This, in my opinion, is the most interesting position group to watch this offseason and into training camp, and it’s also the most interesting when it comes to the depth chart yesterday. According to Bowen, the starting outside linebackers were Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, while the starting inside linebackers were Edwin Jackson and Jon Bostic. The group isn’t too affected by absences, though Anthony Walker can’t participate until he finishes up school at Northwestern. Sheard and Simon were the two most notable additions this offseason at outside linebacker, and it shouldn’t really be a surprise that they’re running with the first team in practice. But regarding the position, it should also be noted that, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder, Tarell Basham was working with the second team unit at the rush linebacker spot. So the picture that is developing at OTAs is one we figured would: Sheard and Simon as the starters, with Basham working his way into a situational pass rush role.
At inside linebacker, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Edwin Jackson is one of the first teamers, but Jon Bostic also seeing first team reps might be a bit surprising. He was a more recent signing, but the Colts seem to like him. I would assume that the Colts will rotate a lot this offseason at inside linebacker to find the best fit, but we must at least point out that Bostic was the guy getting the first team reps on Tuesday. Bowen did note, however, that the inside linebackers “had constant rotation” on Tuesday, which certainly fits the idea of the position having a wide open competition.
Keep in mind that this ‘depth chart’ will change A LOT throughout the offseason and into training camp as the Colts try to mix things up and give different guys a shot, but it’s interesting to get our first look at how the Colts are lining up in OTAs.