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Report: Colts Could Be Active Trading with Excess Positional Depth

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Buffalo Bills v Indianapolis Colts

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Indianapolis Colts could be active in the trade market, eventually facing a 53-man roster crunch and with excess depth at certain positions:

Who those potential trade candidates are for the Colts aren’t entirely clear, but it’s easy to make a few educated guesses:


Buffalo Bills v Indianapolis Colts

Cornerback

Nate Hairston:

The Colts 2017 5th round pick had an impressive rookie season as a slot cornerback.

However, he struggled last season, starting 7 of the team’s first 8 games, before falling out of the positional rotation entirely—hampered by nagging injuries.

By all indications, Nate Hairston has had somewhat of a bounce-back off-season—even if he struggled in last week’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills.

The Colts already have their top four cornerbacks solidified: Pierre Desir, Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore, and Rock Ya-Sin.

Kenny Moore is predominantly the Colts slot cornerback these days and with fellow backup Chris Milton as a special teams’ ace gunner, where does that leave Hairston?

In a neck-and-neck battle with rookie 5th round pick Marvell Tell?

I’m no oddsmaker, but I don’t currently like his chances.

Jalen Collins:

With a number of suspensions, the market for Collins, a former 2015 second round pick, will presumably be much colder than Hairston’s.

To his credit, Jalen Collins did have a forced fumble in his preseason debut with the Colts last week.

However, despite flashing on a few plays here and there in training camp, Collins seems to be picked on quite a bit by Colts quarterbacks—and with quite some success.

Still, the talent and draft pedigree are there for Collins, and maybe another team will be willing to roll the dice—just like the Colts previously were.


NFL: JUL 26 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wide Receiver

Marcus Johnson:

The Colts received the 6’1”, 207 pound wide receiver in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks last off-season and another year later, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them ship him away.

The 3rd-year wide receiver caught 11 receptions for 147 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in 5 games for the Colts last season. However, after a promising start with his new team, he was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury in Week 6.

Johnson finished with 2 receptions for 27 receiving yards against the Bills last week.

Any Marcus Johnson trade wouldn’t be an indictment on his talent and potential, as much as it simply would be a byproduct of the numbers game ahead of him.

The Colts already have four wide receivers as shoo-ins on the roster: T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, Parris Campbell, and Deon Cain.

It’s more likely than not Chester Rogers, who the powers that be remain high on, also makes the Colts final 53-man roster.

Assuming the Colts keep 6 wide receivers, that leaves just one spot up for grabs between Zach Pascal, Reece Fountain, and Johnson.

Pascal has more special teams return experience than Johnson, and Fountain was originally drafted by the Colts—just last off-season.


NFL: JUL 25 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Offensive Line

Le’Raven Clark:

The 4-year veteran tackle seems like the safe bet—if there’s any, to be potentially traded along the offensive line.

As a former 3rd round pick of the previous regime, Ballard has no direct ties—or allegiances to Clark, meaning he’s just as free to ship him away as he did previous holdovers such as Henry Anderson, Antonio Morrison, and Hassan Ridgeway.

Clark’s first two seasons were very disappointing in Indianapolis, but he actually had somewhat of a rebound season in 2018—holding his own (for the most part) at left tackle for injured bookend Anthony Castonzo—while starting four games.

It’s worth noting though that Clark seemed to struggle in the Colts preseason opener last week at Buffalo, starting at left tackle.

Still, general manager Chris Ballard said Clark “had a nice spring,” and the Colts offensive tackle depth beyond him among backups isn’t great—unless you’re a big believer in Joe Haeg or J’Marcus Webb.

For this reason alone, it would be surprising if Clark ultimately gets moved.