The Indianapolis Colts have yet to officially announce their undrafted free agent signings this year, and there’s really no immediate rush for them to do so since their rookie mini-camp won’t be taking place until next weekend.
But we’ve heard of a number of signings and tryouts so far for the Colts, and there are some interesting ones to keep an eye on. In fact, GM Chris Ballard yesterday joined Sirius XM NFL Radio and mentioned three Colts UDFAs in particular to watch: tight end Darrell Daniels, running back Dalton Crossan, and cornerback Reggie Porter.
First of all, Ballard mentioning these three guys seems to officially confirm what we already knew: that the Colts have signed these three as undrafted free agents. But more significantly, him mentioning these three players should help fans have a better idea of which rookie free agents to really be watching.
Darrell Daniels played in 49 games at Washington and started 18 of them, catching 47 passes for 728 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 15.5 yards per catch. As a senior in 2016, he played in all 14 games and started six of them, catching 17 passes for 307 yards and three scores (averaging 18.1 yards per catch). A former wide receiver who moved to tight end in 2013 as a freshman, Daniels as good size (6-3, 247 pounds) and athleticism that will make him an interesting player to watch. The Colts have taken players with athletic traits before and helped them become NFL tight ends, and that’s with basketball players! So now they’ve signed a guy who actually played tight end in college who has these intriguing traits and who has room to develop.
Dalton Crossan played in 44 games during his career at New Hampshire, rushing for 2,617 yards and 27 touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards per catch and also recording 105 receptions for 779 yards and eight touchdowns. As a junior in 2015 he recorded 1,226 yards and 16 touchdowns from scrimmage, and in 2016 he recorded 1,547 total yards and 14 total touchdowns as he notched his first 1,000 yard rushing season (1,281). He was a very good lacrosse player in high school and could have played collegiately, but he opted for football instead.
Reggie Porter played in 36 career games at Utah, starting 22 of them, and he recorded 91 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, 18 passes defensed, and a fumble recovery. He had his best season in 2016 as a senior, when he played in 13 games and started 11, recording 43 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, and six passes defensed.
One additional thing that stands out about all three of these players is that there could be spots open on the roster for them. Ballard seems to like them, but also the Colts should have quite a bit of competition there. They’re obviously in need of a number three tight end behind Jack Doyle and Erik Swoope, and right now it’s just Brandon Williams and Mo Alie-Cox competing for the spot. An undrafted free agent, then, should be able to truly compete for the number three spot, which is what Daniels will likely do. At running back, the Colts have three of them in Frank Gore, Robert Turbin, and Marlon Mack that are likely to make the roster, but after that it’s wide open. So if the Colts want to keep four backs, someone like Dalton Crossan, who can play both running back and wide receiver, would make some sense. And then at cornerback, the Colts will be looking for players to step up this offseason and in camp who could stick as depth and special teams help.