Training camp is just over a week away, and the Colts have lots to sort out in terms of their depth chart over the next month. The competitions will be far fiercer than they have been in years past at several different spots, and there could very well be some surprising trades and cuts to get down to the final 53-man roster.
Today we’re going to take an early look at what that final roster might look like as we get closer to the start of training camp.
Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett
There may be competition across much of the roster, but it really isn’t a competition at the quarterback position. Andrew Luck should see his production get even better in year two of Frank Reich’s offense. Brissett is a solid backup and exactly what the team needs behind Luck.
Cuts: Phillip Walker, Chad Kelly
Running Back: 4
Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Spencer Ware
The running back position has been talked about this offseason in terms of its increased importance in the Colts’ offense. Marlon Mack had a very good second season and really took off when the offensive line found its footing in week 6. He could have a big year in 2019, even with the committee running back approach likely to still be a major part of the offense.
Nyheim Hines is a guy who is likely to see his production limited this season, not because he is not a very talented back either. Hines was third on the team in receptions in 2018, and that is unlikely to be repeatable because of the additions of Parris Campbell and Jack Doyle, not to mention Devin Funchess.
Spencer Ware and Jordan Wilkins will be left to battle it out in camp for the remaining carries, with Wilkins likely getting the leg up by nature of being the younger back.
Cuts: Jonathan Williams
Wide Receiver: 6
T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, Parris Campbell, Chester Rogers, Deon Cain, Reece Fountain
The receivers will be in for a hotly contested battle in camp and should prove quite entertaining. Hilton is locked in, but behind him is a free-for-all. Funchess coming in as a free agent seemingly makes him a lock at WR2, but given the number of young guys scrapping for those roles, anything can happen.
Last year’s camp darling Deon Cain is on his way back from an ACL tear, rookie Parris Campbell was already the talk of minicamp, and Chester Rogers has been consistently getting better and was a reliable target down the stretch last season.
Reece Fountain was always a raw prospect, and his time on the practice squad as well as some hard work this offseason to improve his game should get him his chance to make the 53-man roster to start this season.
Cuts: Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Steve Ishmael, Jordan Veasy, Ashton Dulin, Penny Hart, Krishawn Hogan
Tight End: 4
Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Mo-Alie Cox, Hale Hentges
The tight end room for the Colts might be the best in the league. Jack Doyle is back from a rough and injury plagued 2018 season, and Eric Ebron is fresh off his career best year. Mo-Alie Cox might be the surprising star of the group if he plays like he showed he could last year. Hale Hentges could fill the role Ryan Hewitt did last season. The Colts used the practice squad quite a bit last year with this position, and so the guys who end up there may still end up with some playing time as the season goes on.
Cuts: Ross Travis, Billy Brown, Gabe Holmes
Offensive Line: 8
Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski, Braden Smith, Joe Haeg, Evan Boehm, Le’Raven Clark
The Colts’ offensive line group is as consistent as it has been in years, and that won’t change this offseason. This will be a tough group to stand out in, and they’ve got depth players who are still young as well. This is a great situation to be in, but makes for tough work for the new guys to get noticed.
Cuts: Nico Siragusa, Josh Andrews, J’Marcus Webb, William Poehls, Jake Eldrenkamp, Jackson Barton, Antonio Garcia
Javon Patterson IR
Defensive Line: 10
Justin Houston, Tyquan Lewis, Denico Autry, Jabaal Sheard, Kemoko Turay, Margus Hunt, Jihad Ward, Ben Banogu, Gerri Green, Grover Stewart
The Colts’ defensive line is another hotly contested spot. While Justin Houston is the unquestioned top talent, behind him are a lot of very talented players jockeying for bigger roles. It wouldn’t be a total surprise to me to see someone like Jabaal Sheard sent elsewhere in a trade, because there will likely be a player cut from this group who gets playing time elsewhere.
Cuts: Sterling Shippy, Caraun Reid, Muhammad Al-Quadin, Obum Gwacham, Carroll Phillips, Dadi Nicolas
Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker, Matthew Adams, Bobby Okereke, Zaire Franklin
The linebacker group should be interesting during camp. Darius Leonard is far and away the best player in the group, but Anthony Walker had an underrated season in 2018 as well. Matthew Adams made his mark on the SAM backer job and with Ben Banogu largely working at DE, that likely means the job is his to lose. Bobby Okereke will be interesting to watch in camp because he could challenge for time at the MIKE spot, but he will have to really flash in a big way to unseat Walker.
Cuts: Skai Moore, E.J. Speed, Ahmad Thomas, Tre Thomas
Pierre Desir, Kenny Moore, Quincy Wilson, Rock Ya-Sin, Marvell Tell III, Jalen Collins
The Colts re-signed Pierre Desir and extended Kenny Moore to keep this starting group together. Quincy Wilson’s growth began to show as the year wore on, and the drafting of Rock Ya-Sin means this could be a competitive and versatile cornerback group. They have some flexibility in how they play coverage with this group that will undoubtedly serve DC Matt Eberflus well in 2019.
Cuts: Chris Milton, Shakial Taylor, Nate Hairston
Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers, Matthias Farley, Khari Willis, George Odum
The safeties for the Colts have been a bit banged up over the past several years. Hooker was lost in his rookie season with an ACL and MCL tear, Geathers can’t stay healthy, and Matthias Farley was knocked out of last season with several injuries. While they normally wouldn’t keep 5, the track record of the players involved could push them to do so this season. If they stay healthy, Hooker, Geathers, and Farley will get a good deal of time.
Cuts: Isaiah Johnson, Derrick Kindred, Roland Milligan
Special Teams: 3
K Adam Vinatieri, P Rigoberto Sanchez, LS Luke Rhodes
Cuts: Cole Hedlund