The Indianapolis Colts have wrapped up their 2023 pre-season campaign with a 2-1 record, having faced the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. The team currently stands at a 90 man roster. The focus has now switched to the 2023 regular season but with one major roster change to go through: final cut downs on Tuesday. I am going to take a look at the roster and predict the final 53 man roster to kick off the Colts 2023 season. So let’s get to it!
The Colts quarterback position looks very cut and dry, Anthony Richardson was the teams first round pick in the 2023 draft and was clearly drafted by the team to be the franchise leader, not long into training camp Colts Head Coach Shane Steichen named Richardson the starter. Gardner Minshew was brought in to be the back up due to his familiarity with the offense and Shane Steichen, and has done exactly that whilst also being a great mentor for Richardson in the pre-season. Sam Ehlinger, who has been his usual sensational pre-season self makes the roster. The Colts carry three quarterbacks to start the season.
Running backs (4)
A tricky one to predict position for the Colts. The team has a decision to make with Jonathan Taylor as he is currently on PUP and is in the midst of trade discussions. After Taylor, Moss is the presumed starter but is currently recovering from a broken arm and may not be ready for week 1. Next in line is Deon Jackson who ran well last year in Taylor’s absence and is a valuable special teams contributor, he has proven to be a valuable back up and should help spell Moss or whoever starts across the season keeping them fresh. Hull has shown good reliable play on offense during the pre-season.
Wide Receivers (5)
Michael Pittman Jr
Pittman and Pierce are locked in as the starters and have shown exactly what the Colts want from them in the pre-season. Downs has the potential to break out into a full on contributor on offense despite being a rookie. Now after the top three guys it gets interesting. McKenzie was signed in free agency to play the role that Downs had excelled in during ore-season but McKenzie’s ability to play special teams will keep him in the mix here. Winfree’s pre-season performances have secured his way into a roster spot on offense. While others have pushed them due to some flashes, I have Winfree just making it.
Tight Ends (4)
Alie-Cox and Granson are the starters at F and Y tight end with Woods and Ogletree rounding out the depth at the position.
Offensive Line (8)
The starting offensive line is set in stone with; Raimann, Nelson, Kelly, Fries and Smith protecting Richardson and making holes for the rushing attack. Pinter and Hambright are the primary back ups at left tackle and along the interior. The swing tackle job is likely Freeland’s. The question mark here is the interior depth as it is pretty much non-existent. Dan Skipper has played well enough in pre-season to warrant a spot but is more of a pure tackle than an interior guy so misses out.
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 is slightly unknown to say the least. Bryan will be behind Buckner at the 3-tech spot and Johnson has plenty of potential behind Stewart at the nose. Adebawore makes it due to his flashes of raw potential.
Defensive Ends (4)
Ebukam and Paye are your bookend starters at defensive end. Lewis and Odeyingbo back them up while both have position flexibility to move inside on pass rushing downs. The Colts ideally need another defensive end to backup the LEO spot.
Leonard and Franklin are the undisputed starters at MIKE and WILL linebacker. Speed is the starter at SAM too. Stuard has shown further steps forward in his development and is the Colts primary linebacker back up. Stuard, Domann and Olubi have locked up roster spot due to solid pre-season play and special teams contributions.
Kenny Moore II
Baker and Flowers are the pencilled in starters at outside corner but Brents could easily end up replacing one. Moore is the other starter at nickel. Jones and Rush round out the group due to solid pre-season performances although both could do with some more development.
Rodney Thomas II
Blackmon at strong safety and Rodney Thomas at free safety are the Colts safety starters. Cross has been exceptional this pre-season and shown huge development since last year making him the primary back up safety. Denbow has been all over the field for the Colts during pre-season and his special teams contributions should ensure himself a roster spot.
Gay is locked in as the Colts kicker this season. Rhodes is a reliable long snapper and special teamer. The Colts best weapon on special teams Rigoberto Sanchez is back this year after tearing his Achilles last year.
Colts Predicted Depth Chart:
QB - Anthony Richardson, Gardner Minshew, Sam Ehlinger
RB - Jonathan Taylor*, Zack Moss, Deon Jackson, Evan Hull
WR - Michael Pittman Jr., Juwann Winfree
TE - Mo Alie-Cox, Andrew Ogletree
LT - Bernhard Raimann, Arlington Hambright
LG - Quenton Nelson
C - Ryan Kelly, Danny Pinter
RG - Will Fries
RT - Braden Smith, Blake Freeland
TE - Mo Alie-Cox, Jelani Woods
WR - Josh Downs, Isaiah McKenzie
WR - Alec Pierce
RE - Samson Ebukam, Tyquan Lewis
NT - Grover Stewart, Eric Johnson
UT - DeForest Buckner, Tavon Bryan, Adetomia Adebawore
LE - Kwity Paye, Dayo Odeyingbo
WLB - Shaquille Leonard, Grant Stuard
MLB - Zaire Franklin, Segun Olubi
SLB - EJ Speed, Jojo Domann
CB - Darrell Baker, Darius Rush, Jaylon Jones
FS - Rodney Thomas II, Trevor Denbow
SS - Julian Blackmon, Nick Cross
NCB - Kenny Moore II
CB - Dallis Flowers, Julius Brents
P - Rigoberto Sanchez
K - Matt Gay
LS - Luke Rhodes