Colts 1st official depth chart.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) August 9, 2022
PSA: I feel a responsibility to suggest no one overreact.
Carry on. pic.twitter.com/gklYqwMLlB
Rookie Alec Pierce Running with the 1st-Team Offense
The Colts’ top pick of the 2022 draft class doesn’t necessarily have steep competition (without Indy re-signing T.Y. Hilton so far) and was expected to have an immediate impact—even as a rookie. Pierce should provide speed and a dynamic receiving threat outside and has proven his worth so far in training camp.
Kylen Granson as the TE2
The former 2021 4th round pick of the Colts has recently found a groove and flashed a bit in training camp as a receiving threat. Granson was expected to face some competition with a pair of rookies at tight end: Jelani Woods and Andrew Ogletree. To be fair though, he won’t be utilized quite the same as those two anyways—as more of a move tight end. That being said, the fact that Granson appears to be taking positive steps at the position bodes well for his football future in Indianapolis.
Phillip Lindsay as the Change-of-Pace RB3
Lindsay may end up being a shrewd veteran signing by the Colts late in free agency, as the former Pro Bowler and 2x 1,000+ yard rusher runs hard and with purpose—while protecting the football. Lindsay can provide a change-of-pace back from the get-go, and he’s a proven running back at the NFL level—should injuries arise. He’s the clear leader at the RB3 spot.
Matt Pryor and Danny Pinter Penciled In as the Starters
While Matt Pryor and Danny Pinter have some veteran shoes to fill, replacing both Eric Fisher and Mark Glowinski/Chris Reed from last season, they’ve so far been up to the task in training camp for the Colts. There’s been talk that rookie 3rd round pick Bernhard Raimann could potentially unseat one of the two—and to be fair, he still could in time. However, right now, the Colts look like they’ll be rolling with slightly more polished starters for the opener.
Ryan Van Demark as Braden Smith’s Primary Backup
The rookie UDFA drew some headlines with a hefty signing bonus by the Colts, and he’s so far been worth the initial price-tag—as he’s one of the Colts top backup tackle options on the roster right now. We’ve seen recently how important quality backup offensive tackles can be for the Colts’ success offensively—and Van Demark’s continued growth and development is worth watching for the unit’s reliable depth in 2022.
Shaquille Leonard Moves from ‘Will’ to ‘Mike’
A byproduct of new Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme—and you thought we were talking about Stranger Things. However, the Colts will put their best linebacker at a spot once played by future Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner in the same system. Once healthy, Leonard should once again flourish as one of the Colts defense’s top playmakers.
Brandon Facyson as CB3
This isn’t necessarily a surprise as the veteran free agent signing of the Colts looks to be the third cornerback behind Stephon Gilmore and Kenny Moore II. While fan favorite Isaiah Rodgers remains a potential breakout candidate down the road this season, Facyson has a firm hold of a starter’s job for now. He should kick outside when Moore mans the slot in nickel.
Rookie Nick Cross So Far Cruisin’ at Safety
In the wake of Khari Willis’ retirement, it’s another unveil that’s not necessarily surprising—as the rookie 3rd round pick has largely had the majority of first-team reps in training camp. That being said, in one of the more heated competitions, also featuring veteran Rodney McLeod, the fact that Cross is crushing it right now as a starting safety is a great sign.
Big Eric Johnson as the Backup Nose Tackle
It’s not the most glamorous job playing behind ‘Big Grove’, but Johnson is doing his best as a rookie to replace departed veteran backup Taylor Stallworth as an impact rotational interior defensive lineman. The fact that the 5th round pick is already second-string has to be an encouraging sign for his football future, as he’s already flashed frequently in camp.
Ben Banogu’s Breakout as the Backup LEO?
I’ve been burned by this before, believing that the highly athletic former 2019 second round pick had finally turned a corner—as he flashed in both training camp and preseason of last year. However, with a new defensive scheme and coaching staff, and by being deployed in a position that better naturally suits him at the ‘LEO’ (lining up wide-9 as purely a speed rusher), perhaps this can be a bit of a breakout for Banogu, who some have already written off as a draft bust. Entering a contract year, it’s do or die time for Banogu in horseshoe blue, and he should get some opportunities as a situational pass rusher behind Yannick Ngakoue.
JoJo Domann as the Backup SAM
It’s not necessarily rare for an undrafted rookie free agent to make the Colts final 53-man roster historically, but to be already elevated into the second-string SAM role is quite an early accomplishment for JoJo Domann—who’s already made some serious noise in training camp with his play. If Domann can maintain his current pace, the ex-Nebraska star is a lock to make the Colts’ final 53-man roster.