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Colts Minicamp Day 2 Review

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts-OTA Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts concluded their second day of mandatory team minicamp, and here are some of the latest key developments from Wednesday:

Indianapolis Colts v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Colts Cornerback Depth Continues to Shine

Okay, Colts fans already know that the Colts have a very talented cornerback group with plenty of potential—especially one to four, with Pierre Desir, Kenny Moore, Quincy Wilson, and Rock Ya-Sin.

However, due to injuries, it’s the cornerbacks outside that quartet that also have made a lot of noise this offseason—namely Nate Hairston and Jalen Collins again on Wednesday (also with a shout-out to safety Malik Hooker):

When general manager Chris Ballard first arrived in Indianapolis, he promised to not only improve the talent level of the roster, but its overall competition: top to bottom.

Right now, the Colts have a dog fight on their hands for those #5-6 cornerback spots on their 53-man roster with a key special teamer like Chris Milton and rookie Marvell Tell presumably also in the mix.

As the forgotten Temple Owl cornerback on the Colts roster, it’s easy to forget that Hairston had a pretty promising rookie season in 2017 from the slot. Last season, he was fairly underwhelming and took a step back, but he’s still only 24 years old and could rebound.

Meanwhile, talent has never been the issue for former 2015 2nd round pick, Jalen Collins, who has been suspended for 24 games during his young NFL career.

It’s just a matter of whether he can stay out of trouble off-the-field.

The fact that young cornerbacks like Hairston and Collins are battling it out for the 5th or 6th spots on the Colts 53-man roster speaks to the team’s tremendous depth this offseason.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

More Mo Alie-Cox, Mo Problems (*for Opposing Defenses)

With two Pro Bowlers Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle at the tight end position, young blossoming tight end Mo Alie-Cox sometimes becomes the unsung hero.

However, with Doyle still rehabbing and Ebron limited to individual work so far in minicamp, Alie-Cox has seen the starter’s reps “in the limelight” with the first-team offense.

Make no mistake about it, the former college basketball standout has successfully transitioned into an NFL caliber tight end and maybe much more.

Alie-Cox has always had the athleticism and the big body. His blocking is exceptional already for having such limited football experience. Not to mention, his ridiculous one-handed snag against the Oakland Raiders last season—showcased his raw natural ability.

It’s his willingness (and hard work) to perfect his craft with improved route running this offseason that should have fans incredibly excited (via the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer):

“Alie-Cox caught a steady diet of passes throughout the spring, often in heavy traffic, flaunting an improved route-running ability that should elevate his game come this fall,” writes Keefer.

“Already equipped as an excellent blocker – you should see the size of this guy’s hands – Alie-Cox is working to further hone the pass-catching element to his repertoire.”

If veteran Jack Doyle returns fully healthy, Indy’s tight end room is arguably their best position group on the entire roster—yes, cornerback included. Having a third tight end like Alie-Cox for the Colts is a big reason why and speaks dividends.

Given his versatility in the run and passing game, he could be a big problem for opposing defenses to handle and match-up with.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts-OTA Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Banogu Beginning his Career as Primarily a DE

Much ado has been made about how the Colts planned on deploying 2nd round hybrid edge Ben Banogu.

While the Colts first flirted with the idea of playing Banogu as a “Jamie Collins-like strong-side linebacker” with the ability to rush the passer, it looks like that idea has been placed somewhat on hold—at least initially:

It makes a great deal of sense. Playing in the NFL is hard enough, let alone as a rookie.

By keeping it simple for Banogu, keeping his hand in the dirt and letting him do what he does best, ‘get after the quarterback’—the Colts are placing him in a familiar comfort zone and a position to succeed.

Banogu had 8.5 sacks last season for the TCU Horned Frogs, was first-team All-Big 12, and received the conference’s honorable mention for defensive lineman of the year.

It doesn’t mean that the Colts can’t eventually play around with Banogu as a “Leo” or move him around as a pass rushing hybrid linebacker in their 4-3 scheme—given his tremendous athleticism. However, for now, it’s smart to keep it simple with his early learning curve.

To his credit, Banogu has already been mimicking a star veteran pass rusher, new addition Justin Houston—where he could definitely learn a thing or two (maybe even a few hundred):

Other Minicamp Day 2 Notes:

  • Star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and defensive lineman Jihad Ward reportedly returned to practice, but starting linebacker Anthony Walker and backup running back Jordan Wilkins were held out:
  • Colts rookie cornerback Rock Ya-Sin had “the play of the day”—following an impressive showing already on Tuesday: