Key Moves: Traded 2022 3rd round draft pick to the Falcons for Matt Ryan. Traded away Carson Wentz to the Commanders for two 3rd round picks (one conditional), and moved up in the 2022 2nd round.
Depth Chart: Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger. (Jack Coan)
Stating the obvious here, but quarterback is the most important position in today’s NFL. Last season, the Colts were stuck with Carson Wentz, who was a poor fit in this offense and actually costed Indy some games. While the red-haired gunslinger certainly had his good moments, it was just never truly a good fit. It was clear that changes at the position where needed for the Colts to take the next step. Luckily for us, we have one of the best general managers in the NFL, and he managed to improve the Colts outlook at the position while also turning a draft capital profit. Now I don’t believe there is anyone on this site that would claim that Carson Wentz is a good NFL quarterback, but in case there are, or there are some Commanders fans here let me tell you that the fact that he threw 27 TDs and just 7 INTs means nothing to me, and having watched and dissected all 16 Colts’ games last season I can confidently tell you that those numbers are definitely misleading and Indy made a MASSIVE upgrade at the position.
Looking at the moves made, the Eagles absolutely fleeced the Colts with the Carson trade last year, and now the Colts have fleeced the Commanders (so it’s basically a double fleece for the Eagles as they also manage to end up screwing over a divisional rival). That is the last I will ever talk about Carson Wentz, as now we will focus solely on the future of the position and what it’s looking like for Indy in 2022.
Not only is Matt Ryan an accomplished NFL quarterback, but he is also a great leader, great locker room presence, has been extremely reliable throughout his whole career, and is in my opinion a much better fit for the offense. His play has certainly suffered over the past 3 seasons but you need only look at who were the Falcons’ best weapons during that time and how bad their offensive line/running game was. Last time Ryan had a decent running game and a decent offensive line he was putting up MVP-caliber numbers, and with the Colts he will have one of the most dominant running backs seen in the NFL this century, an above average offensive line with potential to be elite if they remain healthy, and a solid stable of playmakers in the passing game led by receiver Michael Pittman Jr. who is fresh off a breakout year. Chris Shepherd and Zach Hicks have done amazing research and analysis on game film from Ryan over the last couple of years, and I strongly recommend both those articles, as you will have a much more educated opinion on the new franchise quarterback for this team.
The most likely backup at this point is former Texas’ quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger ended up beating former 4th round pick Jacob Eason for the backup quarterback spot last season, and I like his physical attributes as well as his football IQ. I believe he showed some flashes last preseason and I am expecting some major improvements from him this preseason. The problem with Ehlinger is that he does not offer much arm strength and is not really the perfect backup to Ryan considering how different the two guys are. Coan is much more similar to Ryan, but given that he is only a rookie Ehlinger probably has the upper hand in case Ryan were to miss a game.
Conclusion and Final Grade: 4/5 Stars
Ryan’s presence massively improves this team, and is at the very least enough to get them into playoff contention. Whether it is enough to fight for a deep playoff run remains to be seen, but I rest much easier knowing that Matt Ryan will be the Colts’ starting quarterback for at least the next couple of seasons.