In this article, we’ll be examining the short term and long-term needs of the Colts. The 2024 offseason will an important one so that the team can take a step from being a 6-7 win team to becoming a playoff team. Which areas need to be addressed the most?
2. Offensive Line
The Colts are extremely thin at cornerback and their current starters have promise but are inexperienced. It shows on the field and now the Colts are stuck playing 7th rounder Jaylon Jones and Darrel Baker a lot of the time. This is part of the reason why the Colts have allowed the 2nd most points in the NFL this season.
The offensive line has been a weird group to grade this season. In terms of their analytics (offensive pressure rates, adjusted run yards, adjusted sack rates, etc) as a group, they rank in the bottom 12 teams of the NFL. Every multi-game starter on the line has had at least 2 good games and at least one bad game. The consistency needs to improve.
Gardner Minshew is hot and cold, and while he has been good enough to win some big games for the Colts, he has also had some bad games that has cost them. He’s not a terrible option for the short term, but the team won’t necessarily be a playoff contender with him, so in that sense, he’s holding them back.
2. Edge Rusher
3. Offensive Line Depth
Juju Brents and his recent stellar play makes this position less of a concern, but outside of him, who do the Colts have for the future? Kenny Moore is getting older and will be a free agent this offseason. From there, it’s Jaylon Jones, Dallis Flowers and Darrel Baker as your next three choices, but while they are young, there is no reason to believe they can be relied upon to be quality starting cornerbacks for years to come in the NFL. Flowers flashed a lot of potential before his season-ending injury, but it’s not wise to bank off that and hope his injury heals perfectly so that you roll with him as a starter for 2024.
In terms of pass rush productivity, no Colts edge rusher ranks in the top 75 in the NFL. Tyquan Lewis is the top one of the team in that stat. Edge rushers on the team account for only 11 sacks in 7 games and while you can argue it’s a short-term need, I would say because of the solid depth of the position, it’s not necessarily a short-term need, but more long-term. It’s more of a long-term need as I’m not convinced that any of the current players are potential game changers in the future. All have shown flashes and good ability, but none show the ability to be 10+ sack and top 15 in the NFL in terms of pass rushing productivity. Their lack of a solid #1 edge rusher for the future who can take over games (similar to what Buckner does inside) is more worrying than the below average production from the current group.
The offensive line depth is very thin, to the point a few weeks ago, they were a Raimann injury away from moving Quenton Nelson out to left tackle or calling a practice squad player with no experience to start. Even on the inside, the group lacks a good versatile player, similar to what they had with Joe Haeg or even Joe Reitz back in the day. Those versatile players as your primary backup are key and many of the top teams have them (such as Miami, San Francisco and Detroit and some others).
2. Offensive Line Depth
3. Edge Rusher
Overall, the cornerback position is the one that worries me the most despite the fact that Brents could become a #1 in the future. The remaining players don’t give much hope.
Offensive line depth is crucial to a team’s success because there are just so many injuries and the group changes often during the season. The Colts don’t have much promising depth, outside of maybe Freeland.
The current edge rushing group has some very capable players, but lacks a real #1 star edge rusher who can take over games. The Colts aren’t a strong pass rushing group, so getting a real #1 on the edge would completely change that. The rest of the group is more than fine.