This Saturday, it’s finally here. No more hearing about how players look in shorts. No more hearing about impending suspensions and arrests around the league. 2017 Indianapolis Colts Training Camp will finally be here.
This is an odd start to camp for the Colts this year, as three (at least) highly important players – Andrew Luck, Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers – will not be able to take the field. For Luck and Geathers, it’s because of recovery from surgery. For Hooker, it’s to keep the hamstring tweak calm that he earned during his conditioning test earlier this week.
Still, the show must go on. With that is going to come all sorts of camp-related content from us, so strap in. Here, we’ve got our final 53-man roster prediction before Colts camp officially commences for veterans.
Quarterback: Andrew Luck*, Scott Tolzien
Running Back: Frank Gore, Robert Turbin, Marlon Mack, Dalton Crossan
Wide Receiver: TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Kamar Aiken, Chester Rogers, Phillip Dorsett
Tight End: Jack Doyle, Erik Swoope, Brandon Williams
Offensive Tackle: Anthony Castonzo, Le’Raven Clark, Zach Banner, Jeremy Vujnovich
Offensive Guard: Jack Mewhort, Joe Haeg, Denzelle Good
Center: Ryan Kelly, Brian Schwenke
The wild card here is obviously Luck’s health. However, the consensus seems to be that, even though he is unlikely to see preseason action, he will be taken off PUP before the regular season and be ready for Week 1. With Luck’s status up in the air, the Colts will want to lean on some sort of veteran experience under center, Scott Tolzien coming into play. Unless Stephen Morris dominates the competition again, the coaching staff will likely be more comfortable with Tolzien’s previous experience.
There aren’t any big surprises among cuts on offense. Colts fans have likely gotten used to running back Josh Ferguson and wide receiver/return specialist Quan Bray by now, but their ineffectiveness on offense puts them on the chopping block here.
Defensive End: Hassan Ridgeway, Margus Hunt
Defensive Tackle: Henry Anderson, T.Y. McGill, Grover Stewart
Nose Tackle: Johnathan Hankins, Al Woods
Outside Linebacker: Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Akeem Ayers, Tarell Basham, Barkevious Mingo
Inside Linebacker: Sean Spence, Anthony Walker Jr., Jon Bostic, Edwin Jackson, Luke Rhodes
Cornerback: Vontae Davis, Quincy Wilson, Rashaan Melvin, Darryl Morris, Nate Hairston
Safety: Malik Hooker*, Darius Butler, Matthias Farley, T.J. Green, Tyvis Powell
The surprising cuts start here on defense. At 31 years old, coming off a season injured by a knee injury that was supposed to be minor, Kendall Langford is shown the door. Hassan Ridgeway showed flashes last year as a rookie of being a future starter for the Colts. That future is now. Along with T.Y. McGill, the Colts’ defensive end spot is in good hands.
Some may be surprised to see Luke Rhodes take the place of Antonio Morrison at inside linebacker. However, Morrison doesn’t offer much outside of being a run-stuffing, two-down linebacker. Rhodes may be able to outshine Morrison on special teams, especially when you consider that Rhodes is capable of long-snapping as well.
In the secondary, things are in a tangle. Geathers’ injury changes things so much, and not just at safety. If both he and Hooker were healthy, they would be starting at safety, no question. However, the Colts only have other capable free safeties on the roster rather than the strong safety that Geathers is. The safety group will now likely become more of a situational group effort featuring Darius Butler, Matthias Farley and T.J. Green as well.
General manager Chris Ballard has already said that Geathers will continue to the regular season on PUP, causing him to miss at least the first six games. If he is activated after that, he will replace someone else on the roster.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
Placekicker: Adam Vinatieri
Punter: Rigoberto Sanchez
Long Snapper: Thomas Hennessy
Holder: Rigoberto Sanchez
Kickoff Specialist: Rigoberto Sanchez
Kickoff Returner: Marlon Mack, Dalton Crossan
Punt Returner: Chester Rogers
I am not sold on Jeff Locke as the Colts’ punter. You know exactly what he can give you, and that is mediocre punting. He wasn’t tasked with kickoffs while in Minnesota, and that is certainly not going to fall on Adam Vinatieri’s plate. Rigoberto Sanchez offers much more as a special teams player. He can punt, hold for kicks and handle kickoffs. He was also the placekicker collegiately at Hawaii and did quite well. If Sanchez doesn’t flop in camp, it makes more sense to me to go with the player who can do more and has a higher ceiling.
PRACTICE SQUAD (10)
QB Phillip Walker
WR Tevaun Smith
WR Bug Howard
TE Mo Alie-Cox
OG/C Deyshawn Bond
OG Adam Redmond
OT Jerry Ugokwe
ED Garrett Sickels
CB Christopher Milton
S Tyson Graham Jr.
RB Christine Michael (undisclosed)
ACTIVE/PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (3)
QB Andrew Luck (right shoulder)
S Malik Hooker (hamstring)
S Clayton Geathers (neck)