The Indianapolis Colts have wrapped up their 2022 pre-season campaign with a 1-2 record, having faced the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team currently stands with an 80 man roster. The focus has now switched to the 2022 regular season but with one major roster change to go through: final cut downs. I am going to take a look at my prediction for the 53 man roster to kick off the Colts 2022 season. So let’s get to it!
The Colts quarterback position looks very cut and dry, Matt Ryan was acquired in a trade to be the starter and franchise leader for at least the 2022 season and he has shown to be as advertised when the team traded for him earlier in the off-season. Nick Foles was brought in to be the back up due to his familiarity with the offense and Frank Reich, but has been underwhelming in the pre-season compared to Sam Ehlinger, who has been nothing short of sensational. The Colts carry three quarterbacks to start the season but I could see Ehlinger getting cut down the line and stashed on the practice squad.
Running backs (4)
Another pretty easy to predict position for the Colts, Taylor and Hines are the “starters” due to their varied skillsets. Lindsay has proven to be a valuable back up and should help spell Taylor across the season to keep him fresh. Jackson has shown good reliable play on offense and special teams too.
Wide Receivers (6)
Michael Pittman Jr
Pittman, Campbell and Pierce are locked in as the starters and have shown exactly what the Colts want from them in the pre-season. Dulin has the potential to break out into a full on contributor on offense instead of just special teams. Now after the top four guys it gets interesting. Strachan and Patmon have both played their way into a roster spot on offense. While Keke Coutee has pushed them due to his play on special teams, I have Strachan and Patmon making it this time.
Tight Ends (3)
Before the season ending knee injury to Andrew Ogletree, the Colts would most likely have kept four tight ends but the injury likely changes their plans. Alie-Cox and Granson are the starters at F and Y tight end and Woods rounds out the depth at the position.
Offensive Line (9)
The starting offensive line is set in stone with; Pryor, Nelson, Kelly, Pinter and Smith protecting Ryan and making holes for Taylor. Raimann and Fries are the primary back ups at left tackle and along the interior. The swing tackle job is Kelly’s but there is a huge question mark over his health as he has yet to play a single snap for the Colts this pre-season. If Kelly isn’t healthy the Colts could put a waiver claim in for an offensive tackle. Wesley French has played well enough in pre-season to warrant a spot and provides much needed depth at guard and center.
Defensive Tackles (5)
A starting duo of Buckner and Stewart competes with the top defensive tackle duos in the league but the depth after those two has been underwhelming to say the least. McIntosh has shown flashes in training camp behind Buckner at the 3-tech spot and Johnson has plenty of potential behind Stewart at the nose. Brooks makes it due to potential also but I could definitely see a wavier claim at defensive tackle.
Defensive Ends (5)
Ngakoue and Paye are your bookend starters at defensive end, Ngakoue at LEO and Paye at the big end spot. Lewis and Banogu back them up and Odeyingo has position flexibility to move inside on pass rushing downs. Banogu looks to have wrapped up a roster spot but could it be typical training camp Banogu?
Leonard and Okereke are the undisputed starters at MIKE and WILL linebacker. Franklin is the starter at SAM too. Speed has shown further steps forward in his development and is the Colts primary linebacker back up. Weatherford and Domann have been two of the biggest pre-season standouts this year and locked up roster spots backing up Okereke and Franklin.
Kenny Moore II
Gilmore and Moore are the starters at outside corner and nickel. Facyson is pencilled in as the other starter but Rodgers could very well end up taking over for him by mid season. Brown rounds out the group due to his positional flexibility and familiarity with Gus Bradley. The Colts could however go with Dallis Flowers as the CB5 due to his upside on the special teams return team. I could also see the Colts putting in a waiver claim at cornerback.
Rodney Thomas II
Blackmon at free safety and Cross at strong safety are the Colts safety starters. Cross has been exceptional this pre-season and beat out McLeod to start at strong safety. McLeod is the Colts primary back up at safety and can play both strong and free safety, Thomas II has been all over the field for the Colts during pre-season and ensured himself a roster spot.
Blankenship won the kicking job over Jake Verity earlier in the pre-season and is locked in as the Colts kicker this season. Rhodes is a reliable long snapper and special teamer. The Colts lost their best weapon on special teams when Rigoberto Sanchez tore his Achilles last week but lucked into getting Matt Haack when he was waived by the Buffalo Bills, Haack looked great against the Buccaneers too.
Colts Predicted Depth Chart:
QB - Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Sam Ehlinger
RB - Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Phillip Lindsay, Deon Jackson
WR - Michael Pittman Jr., Ashton Dulin
TE - Mo Alie-Cox
LT - Matt Pryor, Bernhard Raimann
LG - Quenton Nelson
C - Ryan Kelly, Wesley French
RG - Danny Pinter, Will Fries
RT - Braden Smith, Dennis Kelly
TE - Mo Alie-Cox, Jelani Woods
WR - Parris Campbell
WR - Alec Pierce, Dezmon Patmon, Mike Strachan
RE - Kwity Paye, Tyquan Lewis
NT - Grover Stewart, Eric Johnson
UT - DeForest Buckner, RJ McIntosh, Curtis Brooks
DE - Yannick Ngakoue, Ben Banogu, Dayo Odeyingbo
WLB - Bobby Okereke, Sterling Weatherford
MLB - Shaquille Leonard, EJ Speed
SLB - Zaire Franklin, Jojo Domann
CB - Stephon Gilmore, Tony Brown
FS - Julian Blackmon, Rodney Thomas II
SS - Nick Cross, Rodney McLeod
NCB - Kenny Moore II
CB - Brandon Facyson, Isaiah Rodgers
P - Matt Haack
K - Rodrigo Blankenship
LS - Luke Rhodes