The Indianapolis Colts have not long wrapped up their 2021 draft and signed some undrafted free agents to fill out the 90 man roster. The Colts rookies have attended mini camps while the veterans are fully in the midst of off-season workouts. The focus has now switched to the 2021 playing campaign.
The Draft is just but one way to add talent to the roster and Colts GM Chris Ballard is not one to just depend on one source of talent addition so will continue to be on the look out for roster additions. A lot can and will change from now until the final roster cuts at the end of August. I am going to take a look at a way too early 53 man roster prediction for the Colts 2021 season. So let’s get to it!
Analysis: The quarterback position looked cut and dry with Carson Wentz as the starter and Jacob Eason as the back up. But with the draft pick Sam Ehlinger it threw a spanner into the works and offers Ehlinger a huge opportunity to battle with Eason for the back up job. In my opinion the back up job is Eason’s to lose and he hangs on and wins the competition against Ehlinger.
Running back (4)
Anlaysis: The running back depth chart is pretty much set in stone. Taylor is the starter with Mack as a relief running back and Hines as the change of pace back. Wilkins is a very good depth running back and special teams starter. Unless Mack’s injury has a set back this list shouldn’t change.
Wide receiver (6)
Michael Pittman Jr
Analysis: The top four wide receivers are pretty much sorted with Hilton and Pittman as starters and Campbell and Pascal as primary back ups. Patmon was drafted last year and was kept on the 53 man roster all year which was clearly for a reason. He provides a big fast receiving option for Wentz. Dulin is a very good special teamer and has proved this last year so should stick around again.
Tight End (4)
Analysis: Frank Reich loves his tight ends so any opportunity to keep more on the roster and he will do so. Doyle and Ali-Cox are very similar in being very good blocking tight ends who have safe secure hands but don’t stretch the field much with speed. Granson is the field stretching tight end the Colts have needed under Reich since Ebron left. Togiai was claimed off waivers last year during cut downs last year and kept on the 53 man roster for most of the season, he is intriguing.
Offensive Line (8)
Analysis: Four of the Colts offensive line starters are set in stone; left guard Quenton Nelson, center Ryan Kelly, right guard Mark Glowinski and right tackle Braden Smith. The biggest question mark is the left tackle position, at the moment it is between Sam Tevi and Will Holden for the Day 1 starter. The recent signing of Eric Fisher is interesting, he has a torn Achilles but when healthy should clearly be the starter at left tackle. Fisher most likely starts the season on the PUP list and Tevi/Holden start at left tackle until Fisher is ready and then one will likely be cut to make room for him. Reed and Pinter are the primary back ups along the interior and Pinter has position flexibility.
Defensive line (9)
Analysis: The day 1 starters along the defensive line will most likely be Paye at right end, Stewart at nose tackle, Buckner at defensive tackle and Lewis at left end. This is a very strong unit and should be backed up well by Turay, Woods, Rochell and Muhammad. Ben Banogu could very well find himself on the outside looking in but I think he’s too good to give up on this early even if he is very raw still.
Analysis: Leonard and Okereke are the undisputed starters at Will and Mike linebacker. The questions start at Sam linebacker. I think Zaire Franklin ends up earning the job in training camp and also has the most starting experience out of the others in the linebacker group. EJ Speed is a very raw linebacker but the best athlete out of the rest of the group which is a big plus for special teams which will likely be his role on the team. Glasgow the Colts core special teamer rounds out the test of the group.
Analysis: Rhodes and Moore are the starters at outside corner and nickel. Ya-Sin is pencilled in as the other starter but his inconsistency last year shades doubt on his starting chances. Tell and Carrie are the primary back ups who could also start in a pinch and may even beat Ya-Sin out in training camp. Rodgers can play inside out and offers great returning ability on special teams.
Analysis: Blackmon at free safety and Willis at strong safety are the Colts safety starters. Odum is the Colts best special teamer and primary safety back up. The Colts go with the two Davis’ as the other back ups. Sean Davis as a veteran option and Shawn Davis as the rookie who offers versatility at both safety spots.
Analysis: There are no changes made to a very good special teams group as there is really no need to. Blankenship did very well last year as the rookie kicker, Sanchez is a weapon on punting duties and Rhodes is a steady and reliable long snapper.
Colts Predicted Depth Chart:
QB - Carson Wentz, Jacob Eason
RB - Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins
WR - T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr., Dezmon Patmon
TE - Jack Doyle, Kylen Granson
LT - Sam Tevi, Will Holden
LG - Quenton Nelson, Chris Reed
C - Ryan Kelly, Danny Pinter
RG - Mark Glowinski
RT - Braden Smith
TE - Mo Alie-Cox, Noah Togiai
WR - Parris Campbell
WR - Zach Pascal, Ashton Dulin
RE - Kwity Paye, Kemoko Turay, Ben Banogu
NT - Grover Stewart, Antwuan Woods
UT - DeForest Buckner, Isaac Rochell
DE - Tyquan Lewis, Al-Quadin Muhammad
WLB - Darius Leonard, Jordan Glasgow
MLB - Bobby Okereke,
SLB - Zaire Franklin, E.J. Speed
CB - Rock Ya-Sin, T.J. Carrie
FS - Julian Blackmon, George Odum, Shawn Davis
SS - Khari Willis, Sean Davis
NCB - Kenny Moore II, Isaiah Rodgers
CB - Xavier Rhodes, Marvell Tell
P - Rigoberto Sanchez
K - Rodrigo Blankenship
LS - Luke Rhodes
KR - Nyheim Hines, Isaiah Rodgers
PR - Nyheim Hines, Isaiah Rodgers