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Breaking Down the Colts Initial 2017 53-Man Roster

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Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

We’ve taken you through each and every release, cut and IR addition, now we’re going to take a quick trip through each of the players on the Indianapolis Colts initial 53-man roster.

Quarterback (4)

Andrew Luck: Luck is just coming of the PUP list and while we don’t actually know when he’ll be on the field, we do know it won’t be past Week 6. My guess is that we’ll see him in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns.

Stephen Morris: Morris has proven as much as he possibly could given the time he’s been afforded during the preseason. He should be starting in Luck’s absence, but we’ll have to wait to see if it will be so.

Scott Tolzien: Given the circumstances, he probably shouldn’t be on the roster but the Colts will need 2 healthy quarterbacks who know the playbook while Luck is out. Either he, or Morris will eventually be released once the franchise is set to return.

Jacoby Brissett: Traded for yesterday, Brissett will likely be who Chris Ballard sees as the future long-term backup to Luck.

Running Back (3)

Frank Gore: Gore is Mr. Reliable. He is the unquestioned starter, but he won’t be carrying as heavy of a load as he has throughout his career.

Robert Turbin: Turbin will be the perfect complement to Gore in short yardage and will get some targets out of the backfield in the passing game. Expect him to eventually get into the early down rotation as well.

Marlon Mack: Mack certainly flashed in the preseason and will add a dynamic ability to this backfield and may give the Colts the big-play threat they have been lacking for several years.

Tight End (4)

Jack Doyle: Doyle is, and will continue to be the quarterback’s security blanket. On the surface, due to injury, it looks like he’ll be leaned on heavily early if the team hopes to get production at the position.

Brandon Williams: So far, Williams has shown that he can be a reliable pass catcher. He’s likely the top in-line blocking option at the position and the hope is that he can garner enough attention in the passing game to keep defenses on their toes.

Erik Swoope: We don’t know when to expect Swoope back, in fact a couple options are still on the table as far as what to do with him, and how long he’ll be out. The offense needs his speed and downfield ability to catch the ball and make plays. He is a primary candidate to potentially move to IR.

Darell Daniels: Daniels proved to the staff that he was a solid special teams contributor, pass catcher, and has the potential to be a quality blocker. Whether he’ll stay on the roster after the first few weeks of the season remains to be seen.

Wide Receiver (5)

T.Y. Hilton: Hilton obviously gives the offense some credibility as a multi-faceted receiver who can win at all levels of the field despite his size. The defending receiving yards champion will have his work cut out for him early in the season.

Donte Moncrief: Despite wearing the red non-contact jersey previous to the preseason finale, Moncrief looked good in limited action. He will be expected to maintain his value as a red zone target and improve as a playmaker between the 20s this year.

Chester Rogers: Rogers has been MIA since the first preseason game with a hamstring injury. There has been no suggestions that he has been improving or that his status has chanced so one must wonder if he is a candidate to move to the injured reserve. Hopefully not as his services and skill set will be desperately needed.

Kamar Aiken: Aiken hasn’t exactly ‘flashed’, but he does offer a solid possession option for the receiver corps. Despite his lack of catches last year and in the preseason, he’ll need to find a way to increase his production by winning at the line of scrimmage.

Quan Bray: Bray is the team’s special teams returner. Ultimately, his addition to the roster tells us that he was the best and most reliable return option on the team.

Offensive Line (10)

Anthony Castonzo: Yes, Castonzo is still the best linemen of the group. However, an uptick in his play should be expected this year. The Colts will desperately need the ‘blind side’ to be completely locked down, especially with backups under center.

Jack Mewhort: All we can hope for now is that Mewhort’s issues with his knees can improve throughout the season and that he can continue progressing into a great linemen.

Ryan Kelly: Theoretically he’s expected to return around Week 5. The Colts need him soon, but fully healthy. The entire group improves with Kelly, as does the health of the quarterback.

Joe Haeg: Haeg at left guard is new, but I feel he’s capable of working it out. He needs to show a big step forward in his second year in the league.

Le’Raven Clark: Clark’s technique has struggled but he’s still been able to maintain the integrity of the pocket consistently from the right tackle spot. Any talk about him being cut holds little water save for a waiver claim today. Clark isn’t the weakest tackle on the roster. He’s not going anywhere.

Brian Schwenke: Schwenke is key depth. Filling in for Kelly effectively will be key for the Colts early success. He also adds depth at either guard spot, but the next week of practice will be a big for him due to missing all of camp and three preseason games.

Deyshawn Bond: Bond did it, he found a way onto the roster and it’s solely to backup Schwenke while Kelly is out. Bond did improve by leaps and bounds throughout camp but he is the weak link of the unit. He is a natural guard too, so that doesn’t hurt. Bond may still be a roster casualty to a claim for a more experienced option before it’s all said and done.

Denzelle Good: Though Good lost his starting spot to Haeg, he’s shown the abilities to be interchangeable between guard and tackle. Good is essential depth unless the Colts find an obvious upgrade. I like his potential to improve and impress.

Jeremy Vujnovich: The Colts needed another tackle but what they got in Vujnovich was a tackle who can also play guard. He’s not starting caliber but can fill in when needed. He’s a little bit quicker than the others at the position but has a long way to go in protection and run blocking.

Zach Banner: Banner, too, has grown quite a bit since entering camp. He’s still slow, and he’s still a project though. He is very strong and has some potential to be at least a serviceable backup. He will likely survive any acquisitions that may come down the line.

Defensive Line (6)

Johnathan Hankins: Hankins is the centerpiece of this new-look front seven, plain and simple. He’ll be expected to produce. He’ll start at the 3-tech where he can rush the passer and stop the run naturally.

Al Woods: Hankins was expected to be the 0-tech, but when Woods was brought in and showcased his ability to take on the double-team and disrupt passing lanes the Colts decided to start him at the nose and allow Hankins to move around a bit. Woods may not be spectacular but he remains a huge upgrade at the position over last year.

Hassan Ridgeway: Ridgeway will be a key rotational contributor as well as a likely mainstay in sub packages. He flashed last season and his potential to strengthen the unit makes him an excellent piece to round out the most talented line the Colts have fielded in a long time.

Grover Stewart: After jumping off the screen – so to speak – in the off-season program and training camp, Stewart came back down to Earth in the preseason. His ceiling is evident, and his raw strength offers a lot to work with. He’ll be a nice contributor, but has a long way to go technically. Beating out T.Y. McGill says a ton about how this regime views his season-long potential.

Margus Hunt: Hunt is a long, strong disruptor in the Colts scheme. He never really developed in Cincinnati, but he offers batted balls, blocked kicks and the ability to disrupt the backfield. His development was a pleasant surprise for me from signing to the end of the preseason.

Henry Anderson: It’s time for Henry to drop the hammer this year. He’s a very well-rounded end who can sink inside and is effective against the run or the pass wherever he is on the line. I truly hope to see him get into the backfield this year with some consistency to round out his game.

Inside Linebacker (4)

Jon Bostic: Though my feelings on Bostic are apparently not in line with the organization, he certainly fills the thumper template the Colts have used in years past. As long as he stays healthy Bostic will likely be a stat monster and be a solid force against the run. On the other hand, I don’t see how he is anything other than a liability in coverage outside of the hash marks.

Anthony Walker: I was pleasantly surprised with Walker’s ability thus far. He still needs to take better angles in pursuit to expedite his development, but could very well find himself starting, with or without injuries, by midway through the season. He’ll be a big contributor on special teams as well.

Antonio Morrison: My breakout candidate for the defense, especially for those who were on the team last season. Morrison is noticeably faster this year, diagnosing run from pass much quicker and more effectively and has vastly improved his coverage skills. I’m all in on Morrison, win, lose or draw this season.

Jeremiah George: George will primarily be used on special teams, at least initially. I was extremely impressed with how he could sniff out the ball so regularly when the lights were on. He’s certainly not perfect, but he also has a ton of potential. George reminds me of Kavell Conner at his peak – always around the ball.

Outside Linebacker (4)

John Simon: Simon has forced us to lick our chops to see if he can continue in the regular season what he’s given us a taste of in the preseason. Though described as the strong side backer, he’s the Colts’ best pass rush option based on what we’ve seen thus far. His versatility is great for the position.

Jabaal Sheard: He has played more like the strong side, edge setter to this point. His pass rush appears to be more of a straight bull rush, but he still a massive upgrade for whichever role compared to last year’s group. I’m very anxious to see what he can produce and hope for a more electric version of what we’ve seen from him to this point.

Barkevious Mingo: Mingo, for all of the negative about his game since he’s been drafted, has fully earned his way onto the roster. Not just as a special teams guy, but as a situational pass rusher as well. He’s so interesting to me heading into the season because I feel he could be an 8-sack guy, just as easily as a 2-sack guy with a lot of pressures. I want him to improve on disengaging with linemen, but things seem to be coming together for him right now.

Tarell Basham: My guess is that he is relegated to an edge-setting role in his rookie season. He has a lot to learn to refine his pass rush ability and he needs a secondary move. That said, he has a tone of potential and I think he’ll be a great special teams contributor. He should have a reasonable season as a rotational outside linebacker.

Cornerback (6)

Vontae Davis: Davis will miss a few games to start the season but I sincerely hope he fully heals. An injured Vontae, isn’t a good Vontae. He is a major part of the Colts ability to cover in this scheme, and likely still the best corner on the roster from the line of scrimmage to 20 yards downfield. This is a season that is paramount for his future and for the Colts hopes of staying out of the bottom half of the league against the pass.

Quincy Wilson: For a rookie with a lot to learn, Wilson has done very well for himself. His length and natural coverage skills are a great starting point for his development. He’ll be called upon a lot this season and I’m high on his potential to impress and improve his ball skills with more reps.

Nate Hairston: Hairston has already grown considerably since being drafted. Heck, his growth since the first couple weeks of camp is even significant. He proved that he was a very good tackler when he keeps his head up, that he can cover well across the middle of the field as well as along the boundary and may actually have a hold on the nickel role at the moment.

Christopher Milton: Milton really solidified his roster spot in the last two preseason games. Interceptions and passes defensed is a great way to get the attention of your coaching staff. His long coverage is suspect, but he has looked really good in off-man coverage, has been a solid tackler, and has good closing speed. I’m not sure if he’ll stick, but he deserves his roster spot for now.

Rashaan Melvin: I was one of Melvin’s biggest supporters last season. This year, I just don’t feel like I’ve seen much growth – and I really expected to. His tackling technique needs to sharpen up and his footwork appears sloppy because he’s getting crossed up when covering across the middle in preseason action. The Colts really need him to be good this year.

T.J. Green: Green is here because this is where the Colts are looking to use him most often. Green does add quite a bit to what the defense can do whether it be coming down into the box to assist against the run or rush the quarterback – both of which he’s excelled at so far. Additionally, he’s going to have to work a lot at covering on an island in this defense, but he allows for some unique packages for Ted Monachino to dial up.

Safety (4)

Malik Hooker: Hooker, first, needs to be healthy. If he can do that, his innate skills will take care of the rest. He’s quite possibly the most talented safety the Colts have had in years and offers a willingness to change the stigma he carries about his tackling. Hooker is a natural ball hawk and offers the hope that he can dramatically assist the defense in improving its turnover differential.

Darius Butler: Butler is the big brother of the secondary. He knows every position’s job on every play and he can theoretically play all of them as well. His staying healthy is paramount to the defense as he’s been a turnover machine since being in Indianapolis. Butler has proved to be very good in deep coverage and is more than willing to lay a hit on anyone.

Mathias Farley: Farley has had a nice preseason. He’s a hitter and a solid run defender. His coverage needs a lot of work, but that isn’t what he’ll be used to provide. If he can be serviceable in coverage and continue to make plays like he has in the preseason, he’ll be worth his spot on the roster.

Ronald Martin: Martin was just added before the preseason finale and seemingly did enough to convince the coaching staff that he was an upgrade on anyone else they had in the building. We don’t know a lot about what he provides on the back end, but we will soon.

Specialists (3)

Rigoberto Sanchez (P): Sanchez has showed off his power and ability to direct his punts to the sideline minimizing returns in the preseason. He’s got a big leg, will also handle the kickoff duties, and can handle the field goal duties in a pinch.

Adam Vinatieri (K): Vinny is getting older, but remains one of the most accurate kickers in the league. This may be his last year in the game, and it might not. Let’s hope he can continue this season the way his long career has been for years.

Luke Rhodes (LS): Once a linebacker, Rhodes is now the team’s official long snapper and has done a pretty nice job at it. He could be of some help if the team was in a bind at linebacker.