It has been a busy off-season for the Indianapolis Colts. New General Manager Chris Ballard has done a great deal of work bringing in new blood on the defensive side of the football. Two of those additions were veteran nose tackle Al Woods and the biggest free agent signing of his tenure, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.
Pair these signings with an embarrassing summer alcohol-related incident for David Parry and it certainly generates a legitimate reason to speculate about the young nose tackle’s future with the Colts. It’s also important to acknowledge that Parry plead to community service and avoided landing himself in jail or more troublesome legal issues in the process. What discipline the NFL plans to hand down is also unknown at this time.
However, it is just as important to realize that Parry was the starting nose tackle a year ago, played more snaps than any other player on the defensive line, and that his likely suspension will keep him from counting against the 53-man active roster for a period of time. Additionally, Ballard has given every indication that he will allow Parry’s work on the field in training camp make the case for his spot on the team in 2017.
While ESPN’s Mike Wells lists Parry as his top veteran on the roster bubble for the Colts, it seems that he has distinct advantages over his primary competition that includes Woods, TY McGill, and even Margus Hunt. Parry has played in this system and with the same group of core players in Indianapolis while Woods and Hunt will be forced to make their case for a spot in the rotation without those benefits. McGill hasn’t earned near the snap count as Parry while both have been on the roster at the same time so he will have to pass him up and beat out competition behind Anderson and Langford on the outside.
The biggest Colts “veteran” on the roster bubble this year is likely wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. He currently finds himself in a competition with TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Chester Rogers, Kamar Aiken, and Quan Bray. The upside for Dorsett is that his speed is all-world and he is a deep threat. If he succeeded in his effort to improve route-running over the summer he might have a shot at hanging on.
The downside for Dorsett is the Chester Rogers looked like a player with real potential as an undrafted rookie and has continued to earn praise from the coaching staff. Additionally, Moncrief has stolen headlines with impressive summer performances and a self-documented work-ethic. Bray has special team return ability as a kick off returner and showed flashes of being the best returner that the Colts have had in some time.
This leaves the front office to consider whether it is best to retain free agent addition Aiken, special teams ace Bray, or a third-year receiver that has struggled to produce in his young career.
A whole lot of summer is left for Dorsett to make his move and solidify his spot on the roster. Still, at this point, he is probably the Colts veteran most on the bubble.
It is also worth noting from ESPN’s story that inside linebacker Stephone Anthony and defensive end Courtney Upshaw are listed as on the bubble players for the Saints and Falcons, respectively. Both players are at positions that the Colts may still have some interest in addressing. Upshaw has connections with Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino and Anthony fits the bill of a young player who Ballard has shown an interest in targeting in free agency at the least settled position on the roster.