According to NFL.com’s Adam Schein, the Indianapolis Colts have been ranked as one of the NFL’s ‘Most Complete Teams’ in 2020—coming in at #9 overall:
9. Indianapolis Colts
2019 record · 7-9
Yes, over their AFC South foes in Tennessee. I love this team. Indy has the best offensive lineman in football in Quenton Nelson — and there’s a solid argument for the O-line as a whole being the NFL’s best. RB Jonathan Taylor and WR Michael Pittman Jr. were draft steals. Neither was selected in the first round, but both made Lance Zierlein’s list of the top 10 Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates. Philip Rivers is coming off of a down year, but the future Hall of Famer is an upgrade for the Colts at quarterback.
The defense wasn’t bad last season, but the unit should take a step forward after the trade for DeForest Buckner. He’s a game-wrecking force up front, the kind of menacing defender who’ll make life easier for Indy’s supreme linebacking corps. Darius Leonard is one of the best defensive players in football, while Bobby Okereke showed plenty as a rookie and Anthony Walker was stout as always.
On offense, the Colts have arguably the best offensive line in football—featuring 2x All Pro guard Quenton Nelson (an NFL superstar), Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly, exceptional veteran left tackle Anthony Castonzo, and one of the top young right tackles in football Braden Smith.
By being reunited with head coach Frank Reich, the hope is that by having Philip Rivers passing behind a much better Colts offensive line—than the one he threw behind with the Bolts, that he can regain his prior Pro Bowl caliber form.
Rivers won’t always be counted upon to throw the football a bazillion times a game either, as the Colts have a power running game for him to heavily lean upon—that not only has last year’s 1,000 yard rusher Marlon Mack, but also highly touted rookie rusher Jonathan Taylor.
Helping Rivers’ Colts’ cause is the addition of big bodied rookie wideout Michael Pittman Jr. (6’4”, 223 pounds), who is already incredibly polished and should be that type of taller target that Rivers has historically loved throwing to downfield. He can make an immediate impact for Indy.
The Colts’ receiving group also has a pair of veteran Pro Bowlers: T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle.
By emphasizing the ground game in Indianapolis, the Colts should be able to set up play-action and free up downfield opportunities for Rivers—as opposing defenses may have to commit extra defenders into the box in order to help stop the run.
On defense, the Colts are led by superstar linebacker Darius Leonard, veteran pass rusher Justin Houston, versatile slot cornerback Kenny Moore, and now the big-time acquisition of former San Francisco 49ers’ All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
At 6’7”, 295 pounds, Buckner should offer a much needed interior pass rush and is a natural fit as a 3-technique defensive tackle in Matt Eberflus’ scheme. His freakishly long arms, athleticism, and quickness should make him a mainstay in opposing pockets/backfields, where he can simply wreak havoc by his penetration. He has 19.5 combined sacks over the past two seasons for the NFC Champion 49ers’ defense.
His addition should free up plays for the Colts linebackers—like Leonard—by consistently commanding double teams, while also mitigating the amount of time their secondary has to hold up in coverage.
However, the Colts also have a number of young defenders who could also truly break out in 2020: promising linebacker Bobby Okereke, returning pass rusher Kemoko Turay, and 2nd-year cornerback Rock Ya-Sin chief among them.
Despite having shockingly lost franchise quarterback Andrew Luck less than a year ago to retirement, Colts general manager Chris Ballard has built a really well balanced roster in Indianapolis—with a combination of youthful and veteran talent on both sides of the football.
With their big offseason additions, the Colts figure to be much improved—at least on paper and have been a popular pick to rise among the AFC rankings on the cusp of contention.