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Colts Preseason Week 2: Last 5 in, first 5 out

After two preseason games, the backend of the Colts roster continues to churn

San Francisco 49ers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

We’re back to discussing the back end of the Indianapolis Colts roster after their preseason Week 2, 20-19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Last week I had Kasen Willliams, Hassan Ridgeway, Le’Raven Clark, Zach Pascal, Ronald Martin and Robert Jackson as our last 5 in with sixth to be a place holder for Robert Turbin during his suspension.

While there isn’t a bunch of that that’s going to change this week, we have few new names in the ‘first 5 out’ category as well. I’ll add some thoughts for context.

Week 1’s last 5 in:

In Week 1 of the preseason, Ridgeway had 2 sacks, 3 tackles for loss against some second- and third-team players for the Seattle Seahawks. Monday night, he added 2 more sacks, 3 more tackles for loss (5 total tackles), but these were against a mix of first- and second-team guys. In my mind, he’s no longer on the bubble.

Le’Raven Clark also cleared himself of the bubble against the Ravens. Clark did struggle a couple times, there’s no debating that, but he also had some really good snaps matched up against some of the Ravens’ pass rushers. Additionally, nobody who came into left tackle did any better than he did with consideration to the level of talent they were facing.

Week 1’s first 5 out:

In a game in which he needed to make some sort of impact, D.J. White literally did nothing Monday night versus the Ravens. His versatility and possible special teams ability are what White has going for him as he tries to make this roster. For me, White falls a few more spots and out of the first 5 out group.

Last 5 In:

(48) Matthew Adams

Last week Adams was on the ‘first 5 out’ list, but Monday he showed us that he is a solid backup to Najee Goode at the SAM linebacker position as well as a productive special teams player. Adams totaled 4 tackles (all solo) and forced a fumble against the Ravens in the third quarter.

Adams was naturally behind Antonio Morrison to begin training camp, but has come along nicely showing off his aggression, speed and ability in coverage. With another solid outing Saturday, Adams will rise above the last 5 in.

(49) Tarell Basham

Despite being virtually invisible in camp and through the first two preseason games, Basham is maintaining his spot on the roster this week. He’s totaled 3 tackles and has a blocked punt thus far (all Monday), but still hasn’t managed to produce a legitimate counter move when rushing the passer and is being outplayed by virtually everyone at the position.

I know he’s a third-round pick from a year ago, but he’s steadily sinking like a rock and is in real danger of not making the roster right now.

(50) Steve Ishmael

Right now the Colts are in desperate need of finding a receiver who can climb into the WR4 spot and become a mainstay on this roster. Last week I didn’t even have Ishmael on the roster, but injuries have allowed him to battle for a higher position and he showed off some of what he can do Monday night.

Ishmael has the length and speed the Colts need at the position and showed that he can win in 50-50 situations with his ability to high-point the ball. He now has 3 catches for 62 yards in the first two preseason games on just 4 targets. He, too, needs another good performance if he’s going to make a real push for this roster.

(51) Kasen Williams

Williams hasn’t really moved for me since last week. He was in this group after the Colts win over Seattle due to his ability to be the possession guy amongst this unit. He shares nearly identical measurables to Ishmael and Pascal, but is a bit more stout the other two. Williams only saw one target Monday night, but I’d expect him to get a larger look Saturday against the 49ers.

(52) Zach Pascal

Like Williams, Pascal was in this group last week as well. After netting a big 32-yard reception in the first preseason game, he followed that up with two catches for 24 yards and a hauled in a fantastic catch for a touchdown against the Ravens. Pascal is battling the aforementioned receivers for a spot on this roster that I’d guess will only carry 5 receivers at the moment.

Pascal’s size and speed don’t necessarily set him apart from Williams and Ishmael, but I think his route running ability just might. Deon Cain is out, K.J. Brent and Krishawn Hogan are nicked up and if there was a game that he needed to showcase all of his talents, Saturday night is it.

(*53) Ronald Martin

Right now, Martin theoretically holds the final roster spot in my eyes considering Robert Turbin’s suspension. Martin recovered a fumble and nearly grabbed a tipped-ball interception in the Colts first preseason outing, and notched 2 more tackles Monday night.

Don’t get me wrong, Martin isn’t killing it right now, but he’s still better than T.J. Green right now. It won’t take much for Martin to miss this roster quite honestly, and if he doesn’t make himself necessary against the 49ers he may not produce enough of an upside for the coaching staff to keep him over Green.

First 5 Out:

Ryan Delaire

I absolutely hate having Delaire listed here. He’s shown more explosion, pass rush moves, natural ability and athleticism than Basham has in over a year of ‘development.’ However, the fact is that we don’t quite know enough about Delaire to get him any higher on the list right now.

Just the same, if Delaire continues his ascension, I am absolutely on board with him making the roster and cutting Basham regardless of the fact that he’s a third-round pick. Mistakes are mistakes, and if the Colts don’t see enough of a ceiling from Basham, Delaire will gladly take his place as a rotational pass rusher.

Chris Milton

Monday I was impressed with Milton. He did have a touchdown pass caught on him while in coverage, but he simply could not have played that ball any better without getting a pass interference penalty in the end zone.

Milton is also in line to fight for special teams as a gunner and has surpassed D.J. White, Robert Jackson and many of the others at the bottom of the cornerback position. He’s not there yet, but with cornerback spots being limited — and the likelihood of adding another during 53-man cuts — Milton’s versatility to play in the nickel as well as a boundary corner are working in his favor.

T.J. Green

For all of the physical gifts that Green possesses, he just doesn’t make an impact on the field right now. With Martin being just a physical of a box presence, and better coverage skills, it’s hard to make a case for Green to be safe. Green has 3 total tackles through two preseason games, but hasn’t been consistent in practices and has produced very few flashes.

We all want Green to be good, his physical attributes are unmistakable. But, like Basham, he’s still a project despite being a pretty high draft pick. Right now, I’m out on Green.

Antonio Morrison

From what we’ve seen thus far, Morrison is a likely cut come September 1. Goode and Matthew Adams are better in coverage and are just as physical against the run. Both are as fast or faster, and for the time being, are getting the earlier snaps in the preseason.

It’s rare that the leading tackler from the year previous is so replaceable on the roster the next year. But, if you look at technique, fundamentals and overall ability Morrison just isn’t cutting it in terms of the vision of this defense in the new scheme. Youth and athleticism is prevailing right now.

Darrell Daniels

Daniels finds himself in an uphill battle for the Colts roster. Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope and Ross Travis are just too far ahead of him at this point. All three after Doyle, who are ahead of Daniels, are far more athletic and present much more upside within the Colts’ offense than Daniels does.

Daniels solid blocking ability is his notch above Ebron, Swoope and Travis, but his ability isn’t so good that the Colts would want to choose him over the diversity those add to the passing game. I don’t know if there is anything he can do on the field that would get him the upper hand in this battle. His only path to the roster is injury and none of us want to see that.