As the incessant need to visualize the Indianapolis Colts roster, it’s only natural that we put a projection together several months before even the 90-man roster is even a solid representation of what the team wants in camp, right? Right.
The Colts are now a much younger group than they’ve been in years past, and the hope for a competitive roster will result in multiple roster moves in order to get it shaped the way Ballard likes it. However, aside from the more obvious players to make the initial 53-man roster, a handful of these players were brought in by Ballard specifically to build depth on the roster.
There are a few surprises, but this is my version of the active roster as it currently stands.
Offense — 24
The Colts don’t feel the need to carry a third quarterback on the active roster as Luck is as healthy as he’s ever going to be, and Brissett racked up some much needed experience last season.
Missed Out: Brad Kaaya, Phillip Walker
Running Back: 4
By adding two unique backs in the NFL Draft, the Colts now theoretically own a complete toolbox in their backfield for the new offense. Mack, Turbin, Hines and Wilkins have new coach Frank Reich drooling over a group which will keep defenses on their toes, and a smile on Chris Ballard’s face with a lack of predictability.
Missed Out: Christine Michael, Josh Ferguson
Tight End: 4
This tight end group adds a bit of everything with the free agency addition of Ebron. Swoope continues to ascend in his trek to becoming a legitimate NFL tight end, Doyle remains the jack of all trades for the unit and Travis becomes a real option for Luck in the process.
Missed Out: Jason Vander Laan, Darrell Daniels, Mo Alie-Cox
Wide Receiver: 6
Most of this unit is completely different from what we saw last season. Rogers gets back to proving he belongs and Grant provides some depth after his free agency acquisition. Both of the Colts rookie draft picks come through in camp earning a spot and Hogan offers the Colts offense another big, speedy target after the departure of Donte Moncrief.
Missed Out: Dres Anderson, K.J. Brent, Steve Ishmael, Seantavius Jones, Kolby Listenbee, DeAndre Smelter, James Wright
Offensive Line: 8
The Colts feel good about how their offensive line has shaken out. Nelson, Kelly, Smith and Mewhort are quality options among the interior of the line, Slauson provides some experience and veteran leadership while Good and Haeg battle it out as the bookend opposite Castonzo.
Missed Out: Le’Raven Clark, Tyreek Burwell, Isaiah Williams, Jeremy Vujnovich, Mark Glowinski, Deyshawn Bond, Anthony Fabiano
Defense — 26
Defensive Tackle: 4
In the Colts new defensive scheme, Matt Eberflus is forced to use use an odd mix of Hunt who has struggled at DT before coming to the Colts, and unproven Stewart who adds the necessary explosion, a true nose tackle in Woods and Ridgeway who he hopes makes major strides in 2018. The Colts front will be a vast mix and match of ends and tackles in order to find some success, while using the speed and diversity they desire in the system.
Missed Out: Caraun Reid, Tomasi Laulile
Defensive End: 6
Though most of the Colts’ ends will be used as pass rushers off the edge, Lewis and Autry will often kick down inside in order to maximize opportunities for mismatches to create interior pressure. Sheard, Simon and Basham are all natural fits with experience as ends in a four-man front, while Turay’s role/impact is exciting to think about, but is yet to be known.
Missed Out: Anthony Johnson, Josh Perry
The Colts decide to go away from the Antonio Morrison experiment by allowing the young, recently acquired talent through the draft to get the snaps and work towards building a foundation for the future. Goode will be expected to be the experience of the unit in the middle, Walker will earn himself the SAM role and Leonard takes the WILL while George, Adams and Franklin give some exciting depth at each position going forward.
Missed Out: Antonio Morrison, Tyrell Adams, William Ossai, Skai Moore
Finally we see what Wilson can do as the unquestioned starter, while Desir and Hairston build off of an encouraging 2017 to lead the unit. White, Acker and UDFA Toliver add the physicality against the run with the requisite coverage ability to round out the underdog unit.
Missed Out: Lashard Durr, Robert Jackson, Chris Milton, Kenny Moore II
The Colts finally put their best coverage option in Hooker together on the field with their most physical option at the position with Geathers. Farley continues to be a favorite of the staff with his solid mix of both aspects, while T.J. Green meets his unheralded end with the Colts as Ronald Martin simply proves to be a more fundamental, and safe addition to the position.
Missed Out: Chris Cooper, T.J. Green, George Odum
Special Teams — 3
K — Adam Vinatieri
P — Rigoberto Sanchez
LS — Luke Rhodes
Missed Out: Michael Badgley