As fans settle in for the beginning of training camp and some meaningful news in the next week, there’s definitely a storyline that we have yet to give the necessary credence to. We all know by now how much turnover has taken place, the additions to the roster that are leading the fan base towards hopeful days and the significance of adding six defenders via the draft.
On the other hand the amount of quality additions to the backend of the 90-man roster have become more interesting as time passes. The initial pull of undrafted free agents, then the process of bringing in more who weren’t scooped up in the preliminary stages of signing are always interesting to analyze as well.
But, we’re not just talking about a few guys who are interesting because we liked what we saw from their college tape. We’re looking hard at all of them because the Colts have been known for adding at least one every offseason to their roster. In fact, over the past 18 years one has broken through finding a seat either on the 53-man roster or has been brought back and added to the practice squad.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean that this year will be the same with all of the changes in the front office, but it certainly adds to the intrigue being only a week out from camp. Chris Ballard has been pushing the importance of competition from camp throughout the season which gives some these guys realistic possibilities to break into the roster, but also makes it more than possible that none of them make it as well.
Dalton Crossan has been talked up by Chuck Pagano since being signed, and if the Colts are to keep four running backs he simply has to prove that he’s more of a consistent threat than Josh Ferguson. Ferguson didn’t exactly set the world on fire last season, as one of those undrafted guys who were kept, so there’s certainly room for a breakthrough there.
Darrell Daniels could legitimately give the tight end position a run for its money if he can prove that he’s an all-around prospect. Brandon Williams was brought in through free agency, but has some limitations to his game. The issue for Daniels is that he’ll have to show that he can be effective as a blocker – which is Williams’ strong suit – as well as a receiver if he plans to make a real push for the roster.
The Colts haven’t been theoretically this deep along the offensive line for a while, however, Deyshawn Bond could make a strong push for that ninth spot which is wide open at this point. Tyson Graham also presents some potential as well at safety with all of the questions at the position. Graham was signed out of rookie minicamp showing that the coaching staff liked what they saw and is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Another one of my favorites of the undrafted group is Jerry Ugokwe. Though not from a huge program, he does have a ton of experience starting 42 of 43 games through his college career at William & Mary. For all of the talk about how big Zach Banner is, Ugokwe is nearly the same size and is significantly lighter on his feet. He is at a premium positon and if he can show any versatility at all he’ll make for a close watch throughout camp and the preseason.
While all of the above present appealing possibilities, the most probable could very well be Rigoberto Sanchez. He’ll be showcasing his ability to be an all-around kicker. He’s got a nice leg that ranked him 15th in the country last year as a punter, he’s able to kick field goals with a 55-yarder on his resume and he also has been taking on kickoff responsibilities as well. You’ve got to think that if all things are equal Jeff Locke could have his work cut out for him through camp.
In the end, this is exactly why everything about this year’s training camp has so many enthralled. Everyone has a chance to make the roster, and the confidence that each player from the top to the bottom of the proverbial totem pole will bring to camp could set it off.
From the major camp battles for starting roles, to the key backup roles at deeper positions all the way down to the last guy getting a call to the roster who will inevitably hold a special teams role, there’s little doubt that this training camp will be the most revealing in recent years.
Keep an eye out for these lesser known additions from the offseason, many before them have gotten their starts in the league the same way.