One of the Indianapolis Colts rookies who has yet to do enough to be considered a lock for making the 53-man roster is fifth-round pick Daurice Fountain. Fountain battled injury for awhile during training camp, but has returned to play in Weeks 2, and 3 of the preseason.
Fountain has only been targeted 3 times thus far and has 1 catch for 14 yards which doesn’t give the Colts a large sample size of in-game action. He did ‘drop’ a potential touchdown pass against the Baltimore Ravens, but he can’t afford much more of that as he gets his final opportunity in the fourth preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals tonight.
Fountain, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, has so much of what the Colts need in a receiver in terms of athletic ability and potential. His pro day was extremely impressive as he showed off a 42.5-inch vertical and a broad jump of 134-inches, both of which would have been tops at the NFL combine had he been given the invite.
Coming into the draft, Fountain had some obvious limitations of precision route running and was in serious need of some polish. However, his athletic profile and ability to high-point 50/50 balls caught the attention of Chris Ballard.
This was evident early in training camp, and has kept Fountain lower on the depth chart ever since. His 4.46 speed is enticing to the Colts for sure, but there is a lot that is still unknown about his ability to transition to the NFL game as an all-around talent.
Tonight is the perfect occasion for Fountain to do all he can to stand out amongst the rest of the depth at the receiver position. With K.J. Brent going down, Deon Cain being added to injured-reserve and a lack of experience at the position, Fountain could do a lot of good for himself with an impressive showing against the Bengals.
Fountain finds himself in a battle to play on the heels of T.Y. Hilton, Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant with several others who have yet to separate themselves from the pack either. Zach Pascal has been worked in on punt return and will help him if he can continue his ability to make some big plays. But guys like Steve Ishmael, Krishawn Hogan, Kasen Williams, James Wright and Seantavius Jones are also plenty capable of exploding for big games against Cincinnati’s backups.
Fountain, in my estimation, doesn’t have a lot of time to get up to speed tonight either. Jacoby Brissett may not play deep into the third quarter — or in to the second half at all for that matter — and he must understand that he has a much better chance to show off his skills before Phillip Walker gets under center.
Time is running short for the rookie. He simply must show progression in his route-running ability and may even need to put up a score with the ball in his hands. How he looks after the catch may come into play, and whether or not he can produce in the red zone will also be a focus for the coaching staff as well.
In short, tonight will likely decide whether or not Fountain gets a shot on the roster, or hits the practice squad and he needs to take full advantage of these final four quarters of the preseason.