After a weekend with a lot of roster moves, including some surprises, the Colts have released their initial 53-man depth chart for the 2017 regular season. While what we see here is still subject to change and additional moves will likely be made between now and Sunday, this gives us a good idea of who will be starting against the Rams.
In a surprise move, the Colts have replaced replaced Joe Haeg with Jeremy Vujnovich as the starting left guard. The team gave no indication through the training camp that Haeg’s job was in jeopardy. Additionally, Vujnovich at guard is a surprise after the team announced he took over for Le’Raven Clark as the presumed starter at right tackle.
If you’re Le’Raven Clark, the surprises continue when former guard Denzelle Good becomes the second player who jumped over you to start at right tackle in one summer. It is worth mentioning that the Colts played a lot of musical chairs along the line to get a look at each of their players at multiple positions but I certainly didn’t foresee this grouping, particularly not at their current listed positions.
Throwing in Deyshawn Bond winning the competition against veteran free agent acquisition Brian Schwenke and there is a lot that has change along the offensive line. Joe Philbin and the coaching staff now will start Sunday’s game with only one player playing the same position he did in 2016 — left tackle Anthony Castonzo. Jack Mewhort will be making his first start at right guard, Good will be moving back out to tackle, Vujnovich will be starting at left guard after getting a lot of time at right tackle, and Bond will be starting his first NFL game in his rookie season at center.
There are two potentially positive outcomes from all of the moving around. First, if the Colts coaches and front office personnel got it right with this grouping, there is a chance the Colts might seen improved production out of their starting offensive line. Of course, if they don’t it could go the other way.
Second, if they get the first part right, the depth of the line with Clark and Haeg is significantly better than it has been in a very long time. Even if they were beat out for their starting positions, both players showed enough last year to believe there is untapped potential and that the drop-off would likely not be considerable.
The only potential surprises on the defense and specialist roster is that neither Malik Hooker nor Quincy Wilson is currently listed as a starter — I get it, it really isn’t that surprising. It is worth noting that injured players are currently listed with the first team even though they will not be ready to play against the Rams.
Andrew Luck, Ryan Kelly, and Vontae Davis at minimum will not be taking the field. That might mean that Quincy Wilson gets his first NFL start. Additionally, unless Malik Hooker is physically unable to play, it is a good best that he will be utilized regularly in a rotation with Butler, no matter how the position is listed on the initial depth chart.
What are the biggest surprises to you?