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Recapping the Colts Initial 53-Man Roster

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts had to make some tough decisions on Saturday, as the team trimmed their roster down from 80 players to a league mandated 53-man active roster.

While the Colts roster could still change a bit regarding a few spots—as NFL teams can make waivers claims that are awarded post-noon tomorrow, the far vast majority of their roster is here to stay.

Here’s what transpired:


Offense:

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Quarterbacks:

  • Philip Rivers
  • Jacoby Brissett
  • Jacob Eason

Recap:

Chad ‘Swag’ Kelly is the loser here, as the Colts opted to keep their big armed developmental rookie 4th round pick Jacob Eason over the 26 year old Kelly—who’s become a fan favorite with his prior strong preseason showings.

It’s not a surprise, but perhaps the Colts look to stash Kelly back on the practice squad.


NFL: AUG 22 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Running Backs:

  • Marlon Mack
  • Jonathan Taylor
  • Nyheim Hines
  • Jordan Wilkins

Recap:

No real surprises here. The Colts had a clear 4-man running back group that was the cream of the crop. Fullback Roosevelt Nix was released earlier in the week to clear the way for Wilkins to be safely penciled in as the Colts 4th running back. It’s a deep backfield.


Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Wide Receivers:

  • T.Y. Hilton
  • Michael Pittman Jr.
  • Zach Pascal
  • Parris Campell
  • Dezmon Patmon
  • Ashton Dulin

Recap:

Daurice Fountain is the real loser here, as the 2018 5th round pick battled back from a season-ending knee injury last year to seriously compete in training camp—but came up a little short in a positional battle with big bodied rookie wideout Dezmon Patmon.

The Colts opted to go with Ashton Dulin’s special teams prowess for the 6th spot—which makes sense given his positional versatility.

Meanwhile, Marcus Johnson, who was hurt for a good chunk of Colts training camp was also released—but unfortunately, didn’t really have a real opportunity to make his mark.

Both Fountain and Johnson seem like prime practice squad candidates for the Colts.


Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Tight Ends:

  • Jack Doyle
  • Trey Burton
  • Mo Alie-Cox

Recap:

Recently claimed tight end Andrew Vollert—who the Colts intend to re-sign to the practice squad, seemed like he had a realistic shot to stick onto the 53-man roster for a few weeks—at least until Trey Burton fully recovered from a calf injury.

However, the Colts are only keeping three tight ends right now—but Washington cut last year’s camp favorite Hale Hentges at the position, so maybe that’s a possible play for Indy.

Given how much the Colts utilize tight ends (and with no pure fullback), it would be highly surprising if the Colts only had 2 healthy players at the position to kickoff Week 1 (although rookie offensive lineman Danny Pinter can at least be deployed as a blocking tight end in a ‘Joe Haeg’ like role—as a former converted tight end at Ball State).


Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Offensive Linemen:

Recap:

  • Anthony Castonzo
  • Quenton Nelson
  • Ryan Kelly
  • Mark Glowinski
  • Braden Smith
  • Le’Raven Clark
  • Danny Pinter
  • Chaz Green

Recap:

The big cuts here were last year’s 7th round pick Javon Patterson and Jake Eldrenkamp—the latter who the Colts coaching staff was high on entering the offseason.

The Colts starting 5 offensive linemen are firmly entrenched, but the team elected to keep veteran tackle Le’Raven Clark, rookie 5th round pick Danny Pinter (no surprise), and Chaz Green (the real winner here currently) behind them.

With Anthony Castonzo recently battling an oblique injury, perhaps the Colts opted to keep Green as an additional offensive tackle for depth.


Defense:

NFL: AUG 18 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defensive Linemen:

  • Denico Autry
  • DeForest Buckner
  • Grover Stewart
  • Justin Houston
  • Tyquan Lewis
  • Taylor Stallworth
  • Sheldon Day
  • Ben Banogu
  • Al-Quadin Muhammad

Recap:

The big loser here was rookie 6th round pick Rob Windsor, who appears to have lost a tough positional battle with Taylor Stallworth, a bigger body, who was signed by the Colts at the start of training camp.

Windsor reportedly had a strong camp, but after Stallworth had an impressive camp showing in his own right, the rookie might’ve been the victim of a numbers game at defensive tackle—especially with the Colts current need for a backup one-technique.

Specifically, veteran backup Sheldon Day (knee) is expected to miss at least a few weeks, and perhaps, the Colts could soon place him on IR—with the hopes of activating him later on in the season, which could free up another interior defensive line spot for Windsor.

Either way, Windsor is likely one of the Colts’ top candidates to stash on the practice squad.


NFL: JUL 31 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Linebackers:

  • Bobby Okereke
  • Anthony Walker
  • Darius Leonard
  • Zaire Franklin
  • Matthew Adams
  • E.J. Speed
  • Jordan Glasgow

Recap:

No real surprises here. The Colts top three linebackers: Okereke, Walker, and Leonard appear locked in—with Adams and Franklin as top backups and special teams contributors.

Meanwhile, Speed remains a nice developmental linebacker, while rookie 6th round pick Glasgow should help boost the Colts special teams units.


Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Cornerbacks:

  • Rock Ya-Sin
  • Xavier Rhodes
  • Kenny Moore
  • Isaiah Rodgers
  • T.J. Carrie

Recap:

No real surprises here—as there were no other serious cornerback candidates who were really making a strong roster push. Ya-Sin and Rhodes should start on the outside—with Moore anchoring the slot—and Rodgers and Carrie as the top backups behind the trio.

That being said, with Marvell Tell opting out, this is arguably the Colts thinnest position, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the team is very active on the waiver claim front.


Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Safeties:

  • Malik Hooker
  • Khari Willis
  • Julian Blackmon
  • George Odum
  • Tavon Wilson

Recap:

With rookie 3rd round pick Julian Blackmon expected to miss at least a few weeks to start the season—as he recently began practicing from a torn ACL suffered late last year, it’s not surprising that the Colts initially kept 5 safeties—with veteran Tavon Wilson being the big winner here.

The former New England Patriots and Detroit Lions safety should add veteran leadership and additional special teams ability to the position.


NFL: AUG 18 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Special Teams:

  • Rodrigo Blankenship (kicker)
  • Rigoberto Sanchez (punter)
  • Luke Rhodes (longsnapper)

Recap:

One of the biggest positional battles of Colts training camp was Rodrigo ‘Hot Rod’ Blankenship vs. the former incumbent Chase McLaughlin.

However, following a stronger team scrimmage showing, it was Hot Rod who got the final nod—after what was otherwise a pretty even kicking competition in Colts training camp.

The undrafted rookie free agent kicker from Georgia will keep the Colts franchise active streak of having a rookie UDFA make their final 53-man squad at 22 consecutive years and counting—an NFL best record. Plus, he has some serious Ricky ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn vibes going.