Down below I will leave seven predictions regarding how the Colts’ next season is going to look like. Keep in mind these are predictions, I will probably be wrong on more than half, so you can go ahead and save this article to remind me how bad I am once the season ends!
#1 Anthony Richardson will be the starter before the halfway point of the season, and his play will leave Colts’ fans drooling about the future.
Day one of training camp and Gardner Minshew looks to be the Colts starter barring any injuries. Minshew is the perfect placeholder, but I don’t think the Colts will do so well next season, and the first games are against really good defenses like the Ravens, Titans, Browns, Saints, and twice against the Jaguars. I can envision a scenario where the Colts offense struggles out of the gate, the team starts with 2 or 3 wins in their first 8 games, and Anthony Richardson is named the starter for a must watchWeek 9 matchup against first overall pick Bryce Young and former Colts’ head coach Frank Reich in Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have some favourable matchups later on in the year, so AR5 will get a chance to show he will be the franchise quarterback for the next decade and a half, and he will leave Colts’ fans with the hope that the team is heading in the right direction.
#2 Dayo Odeyingbo will make a massive leap in production
I think Dayo has a much higher ceiling than fellow edge rusher Kwity Paye, and his versatility means he will see the field a lot this upcoming season. I predict that Dayo will have a proper breakout season and establish himself among the premier defensive linemen in the NFL, perhaps even going as far as making it to the Pro Bowl (which as an Indianapolis Colt with little name recognition means a ton). Dayo will benefit from playing alongside Buckner, Stewart, Paye, and the recently added Samson Ebukam, and the Colts’ level of talent at the secondary means the team will have to rely on generating pressure to prevent opposing quarterbacks from picking them apart.
#3 The Colts will finish among the worst teams in passing defense
Speaking of opposing quarterbacks, the Colts will most likely be starting Kenny Moore and Julius Brents (R) at cornerback, and Julian Blackmon will start at safety next to Rodney Thomas. This is not a secondary that will shutdown opposing passing games, as even the linebackers are not particularly good against the pass. Luckily for the team, the only above-average passing games they will face are the Bengals and the Jaguars (twice), so it will not get that ugly, but still I believe the team will finish among the worst passing defenses in the NFL.
#4 JT will have a bounceback season, but not as dominant as his 21-22 season
Taylor struggled with ankle injuries and mediocre play from his offensive line, as he finished last year with just 861 yards and 4 touchdowns on a 4.5 YPC clip. I expect JT to bounce back from that performance, but I don’t think he will manage to recapture that 21-22 magic that had him finish as a First Team All-Pro player and second on the OPOY voting, losing to a historic season by Cooper Kupp. With better quarterback play and an improved offensive line, I expect Taylor to easily eclipse the 1.000 yard mark (if he remains healthy / does not sit out of games) and prove that he can be a top 5 running back in the NFL.
#5 The Colts offensive line struggle at first when Richardson starts
The Colts will be using the same 5 offensive linemen that finished last season, as the only possible change I imagine is UDFA Emil Ekiyor Jr. taking over the RG spot. I think that Steichen will most likely try and establish a quick-hitting passing game to avoid putting too much stress on what was a big weakness last season, but I think that the unit will struggle with discipline once AR starts. Going from a statue in the pocket to a guy with the athleticism and scrambling ability like Anthony Richardson will probably result in way more holding calls as the offensive line adjusts to the new system.
#6 Bernard Raimann will be a top 8 left tackle in the NFL
Bernard Raimann was not supposed to be this good so fast. He entered the NFL with only one season of experience playing left tackle, and no high-school football experience, yet he held down the left tackle spot for the last 8 weeks of the past season. My prediction is that Raimann will take yet another step forward and establish himself as the Colts’ left tackle for the future.
#7 The Colts will finish the season with Brents and Rush as the starting cornerbacks
This is not me saying that Brents and Rush are going to be so good that they will be the starters, but rather out of necessity. Kenny Moore is too small to be an outside cornerback, and his best play comes from playing in the slot, so I don’t think he will move away from that. Other than Brents and Rush the Colts currently have: Dallis Flowers, Tony Brown, Darell Baker Jr., Marcel Dabo, and Kevin Toliver II. I like Flowers’ athleticism and think he could be able to fill the void left by suspended Isaiah Rodgers Sr., but overall I think that the Colts will finish the season giving the playing time to the young guys.