Thursday’s practice marked the 15th and final practice of Colts’ training camp for 2019. It also marked the second day that the Cleveland Browns were in town for joint practices before the team’s second preseason game. Daurice Fountain was a standout for most of the training camp practices and was dominant on Wednesday against the Browns’ defense. Unfortunately, Fountain went down with a dislocated and fractured ankle in Thursday’s practice which may effectively end his 2019 season.
This injury comes at a horrible time for both the Colts and Fountain as he appeared to be playing himself onto the roster. The former fifth round pick was having a great camp and he shined in the team’s first preseason game of the season. He appeared to be in line to take the team’s sixth receiver spot as the final receiver on the 2019 depth chart.
With his injury however, that changes some things. With the assumed top five of T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, Parris Campbell, Chester Rogers, and Deon Cain, who could be the potential sixth receiver to make the roster? In this article, I’ll be looking at the three potential players who could take that final spot as the result of Fountain’s devastating injury.
The most likely candidate to replace Fountain as the team’s wide receiver six is Zach Pascal. A former undrafted free agent who left Old Dominion as the school’s all time leading receiver is entering his second season with the Colts. He tallied 27 catches for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns last year as the team’s third or fourth receiver. He also played a big role on special teams as he returned 14 kicks for 297 yards, had two tackles on punt coverage, and recovered a blocked punt for a score in the playoffs.
Pascal, much like Fountain, has had a great camp in 2019 after making the team with a strong offseason the year before. He has showcased strong hands and much improved route running since his rookie season. In practices, his route running has created great separation against the Colts’ corners and he has run with the first team multiple times.
Chad Kelly with the first red-zone TD. Over the middle to Zach Pascal. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) August 14, 2019
Overall, Pascal has a great chance to make this roster due to his special teams ability and his ability to do the little things. Along with his strong special teams play, he is an excellent blocker and has shown the ability to work on his craft over time. He is extremely coachable and does everything right from a coach perspective. Even with Fountain’s great camp, there was always a chance that Pascal could beat him out due to all of these factors. He is a great player to have at the bottom of your roster due to all these factors and I fully expect him to grab the sixth receiver spot.
Frank Reich referred to this Zach Pascal route as the “Shin Pump” - meaning Short In Pump Fake. Notice how Pascal breaks down and sells the horizontal cut with pointed toes and a pinned shoulder. From the All-22 angle, you can see Luck’s pump fake that puts the CB in drive phase. pic.twitter.com/ezWDzAOPSy— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) December 12, 2018
The next in line to take that final receiver spot would be Marcus Johnson. Johnson was a former undrafted free agent out of Texas who was acquired via trade with the Seahawks for Darrell Daniels last season. He was buried a bit on the Colts’ depth chart in 2018 as he didn’t see too much action until week six against the Jets. He unfortunately suffered a season ending injury after showcasing his skillset with a touchdown earlier in the game.
Johnson has also put together a pretty impressive camp for the Colts. Outside of T.Y. Hilton, he may be the best deep threat, speedy receiver on the team. If the Colts decide to go with a high upside receiver in that final spot, then Johnson would be the perfect fit. He has been mostly running with the second team in camp up to this point while occasionally mixing in on the first team.
Devin Funchess has dropped multiple defenders with his routes so far. Roger Lewis and Marcus Johnson also getting a ton of separation. Colts killing it in this drill— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) August 14, 2019
Johnson may not be the likely candidate to take the final receiver spot but I wouldn’t count him out. Frank Reich and Chris Ballard are very high on the young receiver and he showcased a ton of ability last year in limited playing time. He is a better separator than a player like Pascal and he has much more athletic upside. If the Colts want a true upside player to fill out their roster, Johnson would be a great player to keep on the roster.
The final player with a chance to make this 2019 roster as the sixth receiver is former undrafted free agent Krishawn Hogan. Hogan has made plays in Colts camp for years now as he has been with the team for a while. Unfortunately for him, it seems as if every time he gets into a role in the offseason, he suffers a major injury. After missing all of last season, Hogan looks again to make this Colts’ roster.
As Jake Arthur of Colts.com told me the other day, we have entered the Krishawn Hogan time of camp again. He is making plays every day in practice where he has showcased his big frame and above average athleticism. It seems like every day he makes a highlight play or reliable catch from his quarterback.
Mo Alie Cox looking great out here. Krishawn Hogan too— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) August 14, 2019
Hogan likely doesn’t make this Colts’ roster but he is making a great case in camp this year. He is running mostly with the third team as players like Johnson and Pascal are likely higher on the depth chart at this point. Still, if the Colts want a player most similar to Fountain on the team, Hogan would be the guy. He has a bit of an uphill battle to make the roster but with a strong preseason, he could be a surprise addition. Practice squad seems most likely for him though in 2019.