The Indianapolis Colts have finished with the NFL Draft and are preparing to begin their 2021 mini camps and training camp and appear to be more than content with their current roster. However, if we know anything about Colts GM Chris Ballard it’s that he will always try to upgrade where necessary. Below we will look at positions that could still be upgraded and the remaining free agent who could do just that.
The Colts have four of their five offensive line starters written in sharpie, Nelson at left guard, Kelly at center, Glowinski at right guard and Smith at right tackle. However, there is still a massive question mark at the left tackle position. Left tackle is arguably the most important position on the offensive line as it protects the quarterback’s blindside, add in that Colts new quarterback Carson Wentz is coming off his worst season having been sacked over 50 times and the left tackle spot becomes even more important. If The Colts were to play a game today would likely have Sam Tevi or Will Holden at left tackle, both would do an admirable but average job and the team still needs to upgrade the position after electing to not draft an offensive tackle in this years draft.
- Charles Leno Jr
- Eric Fisher
- Dennis Kelly
- Russell Okung
All of the offensive tackles mentioned would be an upgrade over Tevi or Holden at this point. Leno and Fisher are very good left tackles who have both been to the pro bowl recently and were cut for cap space reasons. Fisher is coming off an achilles injury so may not be ready to be Day 1 starter. Kelly is a swing offensive tackle who starter for the Titans last year due to injury and held his own. Okung is an older offensive tackle but still playing at a high level and would still provide a short term upgrade at the position. Due to talent, age and fit the best two options here would be Leno and Fisher.
The Colts have two of their starting linebackers in Darius Leonard at Will Linebacker and Bobby Okereke at Mike Linebacker. The Colts run a 4-3 defense which utilises 3 linebackers, the Colts have two of their starters set in stone but do not have a clear cut starter at Sam Linebacker. The Colts only use 3 linebackers on the field about 20-25% of the time so it isn’t a need for someone to come in a play a huge percentage of snaps but it is still an important position especially when facing a strong rushing attack. If the Colts were to play a game today the most likely starter at Sam Linebacker would be either Matthew Adams or EJ Speed, both are average linebackers and need to be upgraded especially after losing Anthony Walker to the Browns and not drafting a linebacker.
- Patrick Onwuasor
- Kwon Alexander
- KJ Wright
All of the linebackers mentioned would be an upgrade over Adams and Speed. Onwuasor, Alexander and Wright are all experienced linebackers who could start in a pinch. Onwuasor is only one year removed from a stand out year with the Ravens and is still only 28 years old. Alexander is also only 1/2 years removed from stand out years with the 49ers and is 26 years old but has recently torn Achilles. KJ Wright is the most experienced linebacker on this list and has been a very good Sam linebacker for the Seahawks for a long time, he is 31 but still has time left him as a short term option. Due to talent, age and fit the best two options here would be Onwuasor and Wright.
Cornerback is a under the radar position of need more to do with unknowns at the position. The Colts have two starters set in stone with Xavier Rhodes on the outside and Kenny Moore at the nickel position. The Colts are in need of another outside corner to play with Rhodes and Moore. The Colts have Rock Ya-Sin but he is very inconsistent, Marvell Tell who started one game as a rookie but opted out last year, TJ Carrie who played well last year but is only on another one year deal and finally Isaiah Rodgers who was a rookie last year but did play well when asked. If the Colts were to play a game today the most likely starter outside corner would be be either Ya-Sin or Carrie, both are average to above average corners and could definitely be upgraded.
- Steven Nelson
- Bashaud Breeland
- Gareon Conley
Both Nelson and Breeland would be immediate upgrades over Ya-Sin and Carrie at the outside cornerback position. Nelson is only 28 years old and is coming off a very good year for the Steelers, he was actually drafted by Chris Ballard in Kansas City so the familiarity is there. Bashaud Breeland is coming off a good year for the Chiefs in which he went to the Super Bowl, the Colts had interest in signing Breeland earlier in his career when he was released by Washington. Conley is a traits/upside cornerback who fits what the Colts like in their corners but doesn’t have the production to match yet, he is however only 25 years old so has plenty of time to develop.
Other potential free agents:
Alshon Jeffery - if the Colts want to add a veteran wide receiver with familiarity with Carson Wentz to their wide receiver depth then Jeffery would be a smart move.
Brian Hill - if Marlon Mack is unable to play early in the season then signing Hill would be a smart move. Colts had reported pre draft interest in Hill.
Ryan Kerrigan - if the Colts want to add a veteran edge rusher to their young group then Kerrigan would be the perfect fit, he is also local to the Indianapolis area having played at Purdue.
Kawann Short - the interior depth at defenisve tackle for the Colts is very inexperienced and thin, if the Colts want to add to it then Short would be a great option who has a very good resume in 4-3 defense at defensive tackle.