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Colts Positional Preview: Safeties

Posted by Andrew Aziz on July 24, 2014 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

 

The Colts lost Antoine Bethea this offseason and did little to try and replace him, and now there’s a hole at safety.

 


Current Depth Chart:

Free Safety: Delano Howell

Strong Safety: Laron Landry

Backup Free Safety: Sergio Brown

Backup Strong Safety: Mike Adams

3rd String and Beyond: Colt Anderson, Dewey McDonald & David Sims

 


Delano Howell

Delano Howell is a big wildcard going into the 2014 season. Howell played in a few games last season, showing some good and some bad. Howell is a young player who played his college ball at Stanford and was an undrafted player. Howell does not have much experience but if he plays at his best, he could be a serviceable player. However, anything less than his best and Howell won’t be playing too much this year.

 

Laron Landry

Laron Landry is the only constant on the defense in terms of talent and production. When he’s on the field, he’s aggressive and his presence is known. Unfortunately, he’s not on the field too often and that’s been the case for the last few years. If he can stay healthy, he’s a good player, but don’t hold your breath.

 

Sergio Brown

Sergio Brown is the current backup to Delano Howell, but could get some starts if Howell does not perform well. Brown played well on special teams and in some game situations last season and his potential is similar to that of Howell. Brown could be the starter after the bye week.

 

Backup Safeties

The other backup safeties include Mike Adams, Colt Anderson, Dewey McDonald and David Sims. Mike Adams is a safe bet to make the team. Adams is a veteran in the NFL with a ton of starting experience (started last year) and has experience at both strong and free safety. Colt Anderson also has experience but not anywhere near the amount that Adams has and he isn’t as talented either. He’ll have to fight hard for a job. Dewey McDonald probably won’t make the roster but because he’s a rookie, he could be a good practice squad candidate. He’s the only safety on the roster that is eligible for a practice squad spot. David Sims has one full year of NFL experience under his belt and could be a good backup to Laron Landry, but he will need to fight hard and outplay Mike Adams to get that job.

 


Battles

There is one main battle going on at safety.

The only battle really going on will be for the final (or final 2) safety spots. Dewey McDonald doesn’t seem ready for the active roster and is the only safety who can play on the practice squad, so you can count him out of the battle. That means that the battle will come down to Mike Adams, David Sims and Colt Anderson. Mike Adams is the favorite but he is definitely not a lock for the roster. This battle will come down to the end of preseason.

 

Overall Impression

All in all, it’s the weakest group on the Colts’ team. The group has question marks at both starter spots and the depth is average at best. This group has the potential to be a good group, but it has the potential to be a liability. There is not much they can do to improve the group now, but if they can get a good season from Howell, everything could work out. This group needs to be watched and there could be a lot of lineup changes this year.

 


Grade (1 – Very Poor | 5 – Acceptable | 10 – Excellent)

5 – Acceptable

 

 


Colts Positional Preview: Cornerbacks

Posted by Andrew Aziz on July 24, 2014 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

 

The cornerback group has some great pieces in place, but many have injury histories making this group a risk going forward.


Current Depth Chart:

LCB: Vontae Davis

RCB: Greg Toler

Nickel: Darius Butler

4th CB: Josh Gordy

5th CB: Sheldon Price

Rest of the Backups (Not in Order): Johnny Adams, Marcus Burley, Brandon Burton, Qua Cox, Kameron Jackson, Loucheiz Purifoy

 


Vontae Davis

Vontae Davis performed very well as a #1 cornerback last season and he still has room to grow. He had some off moments last year that he’ll need to eliminate this season, but overall, his impact was a positive (and at times, a very important one). He’ll need to be an important player for the Colts.

 

Greg Toler

Greg Toler was ridden with injuries last season, but when healthy, he was a productive player who had a positive impact on the field. Toler needs to stay healthy this season or his stint with the Colts could be over after this season. His health will very important going into this season.

 

Darius Butler

Darius Butler is one of the more underrated players on the team. Butler played as a nickel cornerback for most of last season and did an excellent job doing so, and seems like a lock to start there this year. Butler will have to come up big against good slot receivers (Wes Welker, Victor Cruz & Julian Edelman) this season.

 

Backups (w/ At Least 1 Year of NFL Experience)

The backups with at least one year of NFL experience include Josh Gordy, Johnny Adams, Brandon Burton, Marcus Burley and Sheldon Price. Gordy is the most experienced of the group with a good amount of playing time. He serves as a good backup. Sheldon Price would be behind him and was in the system last year. Burton, Burley and Adams are pretty equal in terms of talent and none are guaranteed to make the roster.

 

Backups (Rookies)

There are 3 rookies who will be batting during training camp: Qua Cox, Kameron Jackson and Loucheiz Purifoy. Purifoy is the most popular of the three as he was a highly touted prospect from Florida, who to the surprise of many went undrafted. Purifoy can play both safety and cornerback making him more valuable thanks to his versatility. Cox is from Syracuse and has some potential but will need to have a great training camp to have a chance of making the roster. Jackson is from California, and that makes three rookie cornerbacks from big division I schools.

 


Battles

There are a couple of battles going on, mostly for depth positions.

There is a battle going on for the #5 cornerback spot and although Sheldon Price has the advantage for the spot, it’s pretty much a wide-open competition. The Colts could very easily keep 6 cornerbacks, which I expect they will, but the #5 guy could see the field if there are injuries, whereas the #6 guy will see special teams for the vast majority of the season. The Colts won’t keep all these backup cornerbacks going into the final games of the preseason, meaning that they need to perform well enough to get into those games, and then once they’re they need to perform heads and shoulders above his competitors. The battle for the #6 cornerback spot will be similar to the #5 cornerback spot except it’s even more wide open with no favorites.

 

Overall Impression

Overall, there is talent in this group. Vontae Davis is clearly the best of the group, and he will carry the most pressure. Davis’ role continues to grow with the Colts and he will need to shut down top receivers week after week. He has the potential to do it, but can he stay consistent? Greg Toler and Darius Butler are two good players behind Davis and they can do the job very well. Josh Gordy provides good depth and there are lots of quality players behind him. This group can be amongst the best in the NFL, but it all depends on their health. If the top guys can’t stay healthy, it could get ugly.

 


Grade (1 – Very Poor | 5 – Acceptable | 10 – Excellent)

7.5 – Good

 

 

 

 

 


Colts Positional Preview: Linebackers

Posted by Andrew Aziz on July 24, 2014 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

 

The Indianapolis Colts linebacker group is filled with some talented players and an aging superstar who the Colts will need to replace for the first four weeks. Who can fill his shoes?

 


Current Depth Chart:

Starters

Strong OLB: Erik Walden

Left ILB: Jerrell Freeman

Right ILB: D’Qwell Jackson

Rush OLB: Robert Mathis** (Bjoern Werner)

**With Mathis suspended for the first 4 games, Werner is the slated starter

Backups (Not in order)

OLB: Daniel Adongo, Cam Johnson, Andy Studebaker (Bjoern Werner)

ILB: Andrew Jackson, Josh McNary, Aaron Morgan, Henoc Muamba, Kelvin Sheppard

 


Jerrell Freeman

Jerrell Freeman was one of the most consistent players on the Colts last season and will be a player that the Colts will rely on this season. Freeman has a good nose for the ball and reads plays well. He tackles very well and he’s always improving in coverage. He’s a lock on defense and could turn into a captain going forward.

 

D’Qwell Jackson

Jackson was a tackling machine in Cleveland and was always a guy to watch out for in the box; he rarely misses tackles. Jackson was also a leader on the Browns for many years and with the departure of Antoine Bethea, Jackson could help fill that leadership role and become an important piece, on and off the field for the Colts’ defense.

 

Robert Mathis

Robert Mathis had his best season ever in the NFL last year with his 19.5 sack season. Mathis was the main reason why the Colts had a lot of pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback. So, it’s safe to say that his loss will be felt, as he will be out for the first four games of the season. There will be a big hole on defense without Mathis, and they will need to play two of the top offenses in the NFL (Broncos and Eagles) without Mathis.

 

Erik Walden

Some Colts fans have scrutinized Erik Walden, but when on the field, he does his job and is not a liability on the field. People tend to paint this image of him because of his bad ending in Green Bay, but he sets the edge very well and actually improved as a pass rusher. Walden is a nice piece to have going into this season, but his dead cap hit is much smaller after this season, making him a possible departure candidate.

 

Bjoern Werner

Werner is the future at the outside linebacker spot, and will have to show fans, front office personnel and the coaching staff that he can live up to the expectations everyone has set for him. He was an underwhelming performer last season and saw his playing time decrease as the season went on. Werner will have to fill big shoes during the Mathis suspension and he will need to be able to generate pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback. If he cannot do that, the defense will be in trouble and there will be more skepticism around him. There’s a lot of pressure around him.

 

Backup Outside Linebackers

The Colts have some interesting players at outside linebacker, none more interesting than Daniel Adongo. Adongo had no football experience prior to last season and was a rugby star. In the matter of a year, he’s an exciting prospect on the Colts and has a chance of cracking the opening day roster. Johnson was on the roster for most of last season as a depth player. He has a good chance of making the roster. Studebaker is an NFL veteran who’s been with a few teams in his career, and with the Colts last season he served as a good special team player. He has value in that regard, more than the other backup outside linebackers.

 

Backup Inside Linebackers

There is very good depth with the backup inside linebackers. Josh McNary is a name to watch going forward. McNary played well last year in a backup role and proved to be very valuable on special teams. He’s very likely to make the team. Andrew Jackson is the Colts’ 6th round pick from this draft and showed a lot of talent at Western Kentucky and could crack the roster. Kelvin Sheppard seems like the odd man out in this group and was inconcistent and quiet with the Colts last season after the Colts traded Jerry Hughes (who had a double digit sack season with Buffalo). He could be a camp cut but has a relatively good chance of making the roster. Aaron Morgan and Henoc Muamba round out the inside linebackers. Morgan has spent time with the Jaguars and the Bucs, but has not played much. Muamba is a talented CFL player who played in Winnipeg for the past few seasons. He was the driving force behind a great 2013 Winnipeg Blue Bombers defense and is another CFL pickup in Grigson’s career.

 


Battles

There are only a couple of battles going on, and they are for backup jobs.

The first battle is for the backup outside linebacker spot(s). The Colts will be without Mathis for the first four games of the season, and if you do the math that means that two of the backup outside linebackers listed above will make the roster. One of them will most likely be cut after Week 4, but they will start the season on the active roster. The battle will be for those two spots, but the real battle will be who will not get cut after Week 4. That will only be settled during the season.

The second battle will be for the backup inside linebacker jobs and this is a very tightly contested battle. There are 3 quality players who will be fighting for (most likely) two backup jobs. Josh McNary is a heavy favorite to snag one of those spots meaning that it will come down to Andrew Jackson vs Kelvin Sheppard. Jackson could be waived and then signed to the practice squad, but he runs the risk of being picked up by another team, which is likely since he was a 6th round pick. Sheppard cannot go to the practice squad, as he is not eligible. Sheppard hasn’t been great with the Colts, but you know what you’re getting from him. Jackson is a wildcard but has the potential to be a 4 down back. It will be an interesting battle to watch, but I’d give the advantage to Jackson because of his youth and potential.

 

Overall Impression

It’s saying something if the Colts can lose their star defensive player and have the resources to somewhat replace him. The depth at each linebacker spot is amongst the best in the NFL. There are a lot of quality players that could fill in and do a good job. The starters are talented as well, and although they lack a player to who can consistently get to the QB (other than Mathis), they do everything else relatively well. It’s obvious of the 3 units on defense (DL, LB, DB), this is the most talented group with the best depth. However, this will be the group that will need to produce week after week in order to be successful. The tools are there, the players need to come through and they’ll need to have a group of guys that can get to the quarterback, not just one freak of nature.

 


Grade (1 – Very Poor | 5 – Acceptable | 10 – Excellent)

8 – Solid

 

 

 


Colts Positional Preview: Defensive Line

Posted by Andrew Aziz on July 22, 2014 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)

The defensive line made a big addition in Arthur Jones, but with a couple of losses and some aging players, hasthe defensive line improved?

 


Current Depth Chart:

Starters

LDE: Cory Redding


NT: Josh Chapman

RDE: Arthur Jones

 

Backups (Not in order):

DEs: Tyler Hoover, Ricky Jean Francois, Nnamdi Obukwelu, Jeris Pendleton

NT: Montori Hughes, Zach Kerr, Brandon McKinney

 


Arthur Jones

Arthur Jones is the new guy in town, and after signing a 5 year 33 million dollar deal, there is a lot of expectation on him to carry the defensive line. In Baltimore, Haloti Ngata overshadowed Jones, but he was very productive and did a lot of damage over there. However, he was in more of a secondary/complimentary role in Baltimore; he’ll be the focal point in Indianapolis. Jones has the potential to be a monster in Indianapolis’ system.

 

Cory Redding

Cory Redding may be getting up there in age, but he’s still a fiery competitor and a great leader who can still produce. Redding should see his number of snaps diminish just a bit this year in favor of Ricky jean Francois, but will still have a very active role on the Colts and will be relied on to come in and bring his intensity to every single play.

 

Josh Chapman

This is the year where Josh Chapman must soar. Chapman is the starter in Indianapolis after being the backup for the last 2 seasons. Chapman showed promise at times, but has not left his mark with the Colts yet. This is his time to do it as he will be the starter at nose tackle this season. If he cannot produce this season, then it’s time to move on from Chapman because this is his time to shine. It’s a boom or bust season for Chapman.

 

Ricky Jean Francois

Ricky Jean Francois is entering his 2nd season with the Colts and will be expected to have a more active role this season. Francois played relatively well in his first season with the Colts, starting in 10 games and he had a few sacks. He made his presence known at times, but lacked great consistency. If he can improve his motor and his consistency, he could get a great complimentary player to Arthur Jones.

 

Backup Defensive Ends

With Fili Moala out for the year, it leaves the Colts with mediocre depth behind Jean-Francois. Jeris Pendleton was impressive when he played last season and could serve to be a very good depth player if the Colts intend on keeping him. Tyler Hoover is an undrafted rookie from Michigan State, and although his chances aren’t great when it comes to making the roster, he has a good chance of making the practice squad. Obukwelu is also an undrafted rookie, who at Harvard was one of the best players in that area of the country.

 

Backup Nose Tackles

The Colts have a few nose tackles to choose from to backup Josh Chapman. Montori Hughes was drafted in the 5th round last year, and although his talent was at a 3rd round level, his attitude brought him down 2 rounds. He had no incidents last season and barring no problems this year, he should be on the roster in the depth role. Zach Kerr is an undrafted rookie from Delaware and will most likely have to battle for a practice squad spot. Brandon McKinney played with the Colts 2 years ago after spending many years with Baltimore. McKinney was signed a month ago and will intend to battle for a roster spot as he’s too old and experienced for a practice squad spot. It’s go big or go home for him.

 


Battles

There are a few battles in this group.

The first battle is between Cory Redding and Ricky Jean Francois for more playing time at 5 technique (defensive end). This battle will not be resolved during training camp or preseason but the better performer will probably see more time during the beginning of the season. It will most likely be an even split (in terms of snaps) for these guys while Jones gets the vast majority of his snaps at the other 5 technique spot.

The second battle is the battle for the 4th defensive spot on the roster. The Colts will be keeping 4 defensive ends on the roster, and although Jeris Pendleton seems to be the favorite to make it thanks to his experience and his relative success when playing in a very limited role last season, there’s still a chance that Hoover or Obukwelu could make the roster. This battle will come down to what happens during training camp and the end of preseason.

The final battle will be the battles for the practice squad spot(s). With only 8 spots on the practice squad, it’s very feasible to think that there could only be one defensive lineman on that team. There are several men who are candidates for the squad. The candidates are Zach Kerr, Tyler Hoover, Nnamdi Obukwelu and even Montori Hughes is a candidate (although he’ll most likely make the roster). The three players listed before Hughes will most likely be fighting for one spot on the practice squad and it will come down to purely who the best player in training camp is and if those players can provide any value on special teams.

 

Overall Impression

All in all, this group definitely took a step forward with the addition of Arthur Jones, but they still need a consistent player at nose tackle and who knows if either Redding or Francois are good enough to handle a full load game after game. There are still questions that need to be answered and this is a group that needs to produce game after game, because Robert Mathis won’t get 19.5 sacks this season and they’ll need pressure from these guys. This group will be an important one this year and the Colts made a nice addition with Jones, but they’ll need to get help from the secondary/complimentary players in order to have a good defensive line which in turn could lead to a middle of the pack defense (which would be a big positive).

 


Grade (1 – Very Poor | 5 – Acceptable | 10 – Excellent)

6.5 – Decent

 


Colts Positional Preview: Offensive Line

Posted by Andrew Aziz on July 20, 2014 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has been weak and inconsistent over the last few years, but with some solid pieces in place and some new faces, the future could be bright.

 


Current Depth Chart:

Starters

LT – Anthony Castonzo

LG – Donald Thomas

C – Khaled Holmes

RG – Jack Mewhort

RT – Gosder Cherilus

 

Backups (Not in Order)

OT – Jack Breckner, Ulrick John, Xavier Nixon

OG – Lance Louis, Joe Reitz, Hugh Thornton, Josh Walker

C – Jonotthan Harrison, FN Lutz

 


Anthony Castonzo & Gosder Cherilus

Both of these players are locked in at left (Castonzo) and right (Cherilus) tackle. Both were impressive last year and still have room to grow at each position. Their jobs are not up for grabs. Both need to be strong this season (especially Castonzo) in order for the offensive line to be successful.

 

Donald Thomas & Jack Mewhort

Donald Thomas is returning from injury. He showed promise early on and looked very capable of holding down a starting guard job. Thomas’ injury is still a concern and the Colts will need to be wary of his injury going into training camp. If healthy, he’s a starter. The other battle at guard is down to Mewhort and Thornton, but it seems like Mewhort will take that job over Thornton. Mewhort is a versatile lineman with experience at tackle and guard (but much more at tackle). He has the potential to be a solid right guard.

 

Khaled Holmes

Holmes is an unknown player to many fans and has very little experience in the NFL. Holmes has been injured quite often over the last 2 seasons (college and NFL), but when healthy, he proved to be a quality player (in college). Holmes must have a lot of reps in training camp and a lot of playing time in preseason in order to be ready for the NFL season.

 

Backup Offensive Tackles

The Colts lack much depth at offensive tackle with Nixon, Breckner and John, but they are lucky that guys like rookie Jack Mewhort and veteran Joe Reitz can play offensive tackle on top of being a guard. In that regard they have depth, but in terms of pure offensive tackles, it’s weak behind Cherilus and Castonzo.

 

Backup Offensive Guards

The Colts have good depth at offensive guard. Joe Reitz and Hugh Thornton are two good backups, who if needed can do the job. Joe Reitz has filled in nicely several times in the past few seasons. Thornton was a starter for most of last season. Behind them, it should be interesting to see if the Colts keep Walker or Louis. Louis has NFL experience, but is nothing more than a backup and Walker is a promising (undrafted) rookie. Reitz and Thornton are locks and Walker and Louis are not.

 

Backup Centers

If you’re a Florida fan, then you’re fans of Jonotthan Harrison. Harrison was a starter for Florida and Florida has been known to create some very good centers in recent years. Harrison was a quality player for the Gators and can be a good backup in the NFL. FN Lutz is a local guy from Indiana State, who has plenty of experience as a center, granted at a smaller school. Both are definite candidates for the practice squad, but the Colts will most likely have to keep one of these two players.

 


Battles

There are a couple of battles going on. There is one for the backup center job and one for the right guard spot.

The first battle is between Jonotthan Harrison and FN Lutz. It may not seem like a major one, but if Khaled Holmes performs very poorly, you could see one of these guys play a lot of snaps. Harrison probably has the advantage of the two here, being from a bigger school and being the more impressive of the two in college, but the better performer in training camp will make the roster and the loser will get cut.

The second battle is between Jack Mewhort and Hugh Thornton. Thornton will be going into his 2nd year with the Colts (and in the NFL), and Mewhort will be entering his 1st year in the NFL. Thornton started several games as a guard for the Colts, but his play was marred with inconsistency. Mewhort was a very talented tackle in college with little experience at guard, but it looks like that will be his position (at least for the first few years) with the Colts. Mewhort seems to have the advantage in this battle, but Thornton has an outside chance.

 

Overall Impression

Overall, the group has improved, but it’s far from being very good. They have some nice pieces in place, but the interior offensive line has a lot of questions that need to be resolved. Can Khaled Holmes be a starting center? Can Donald Thomas stay healthy? Can Jack Mewhort play guard? All these questions need to be asked, and if the answers are yes, then the Colts can have themselves a middle of the pack kind of offensive line. There is talent amongst the group. Their experience, especially as starters is relatively low, especially with the interior linemen, so there’s a lot of mystery with those guys, but they all have starter potential in the NFL. The offensive line is always important as they’ll need to give Andrew Luck something he hasn’t had much of in the NFL: time; it’s time to give this guy some time.

 


Grade (1 – Very Poor | 5 – Acceptable | 10 – Excellent)

6 – Passable

 


Colts Positional Previews: Tight Ends

Posted by Andrew Aziz on July 16, 2014 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The tight end group looks better than ever with Dwayne Allen returning, Coby Fleener improving and one former basketball player making headlines.

 


Current Depth Chart:

Starter – Dwayne Allen

Starter – Coby Fleener

Backup – Jack Doyle

4th String – Weslye Saunders

5th String – Erik Swoope

 


Dwayne Allen

Dwayne Allen impressed many in his rookie season back in 2012, and just as many expected him to make that next step in his career, he injured his hip in the first game of the 2013 season. Allen is healthy and should be ready to go for training camp and there is little doubt that he should hold down the starting spot he had in 2012. He is a complete tight end who impressed as a receiver, but was excellent as a blocker, grading out as one of the best in the NFL.

 

Coby Fleener

Fleener is a big bodied athletic tight end with good all around skills. Known as a good receiving, Fleener improved his blocking skills last year and played in Allen’s role (during Allen’s absence). Fleener will most likely return to more of a receiving role as Allen is healthy again. Nevertheless, the former 2nd rounder has developed into a good tight end, making him and Allen one of the better tight end duos in the NFL.

 

Jack Doyle

Doyle is big, strong tight end who is primarily used in blocking situations. He spent all of last season with the Colts and even started 4 games in the latter portion of the season. Doyle also was used occasionally on passing downs and had a few catches on the season, but it’s obvious he’s not much more than a blocking tight end.

 

Weslye Saunders

Saunders has been in a lot of trouble over the last couple of years in the NFL, first with the Steelers and then with the Colts last season. If he stays out of trouble, he should compete with Doyle for the #3 tight end spot. Saunders is a big, strong athlete who is a blocking tight end.

 

Erik Swoope

Erik Swoope is a very interesting case. Swoope did not play any football in college, but rather played basketball at a high level. The Colts hope that Swoope can follow the trend of players with basketball backgrounds that turn into monsters in the NFL. Swoope has impressed thus far, but making the active roster is unlikely for Swoope as he needs a lot more development. It seems like he’s headed right for the practice squad.

 


Battles

Contrary to belief, there will not be a battle between Allen and Fleener for more starting time. Both will see the field a lot, with Allen probably getting more snaps thanks to his versatility and his blocking ability, although Fleener should see a lot of passing downs. The big battle will be between Jack Doyle and Weslye Saunders, and it doesn’t seem like there’s a favorite in this battle. Doyle spent 15 games on the roster (starting 4) in 2013 with the Colts. Saunders was suspended for the first 8 games, but the Colts immediately signed him after his suspension. The nod may go to Doyle because he’s a safer pick, but Saunders has a very good chance of getting the #3 tight end job. Both are similar in size and both are block-first tight ends and fit the #3 tight end role perfectly. This is a relatively even battle with the slight edge going to Doyle because of his clean history.

 

Overall Impression

Overall, this is a very good group with talent and pretty good depth. If Allen goes down, Fleener can take over and vice-versa. Both those guys are impact players and will be important players for the Colts’ offense next year. Behind those guys there are two evenly matched players vying for one spot, and both are good enough to hold down that spot. The future is also bright because Erik Swoope has a lot of potential and can be a very good tight end in the NFL, which makes him someone to watch out for a few years down the line. This group has youth, potential and already successful and productive players.

 


Grade (1 – Very Poor | 5 – Acceptable | 10 – Excellent)

9 – Great

 

Colts Positional Previews: Wide Receivers

Posted by Andrew Aziz on July 13, 2014 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 

This receiving corps is filled with many talented players and young stars, making it a tough roster to crack.

 


Current Depth Chart:

Starter – Reggie Wayne

Starter – TY Hilton

3rd Receiver – Hakeem Nicks

Backup – Donte Moncrief

Backup – Da’Rick Rogers

6th String – Griff Whalen

7th String or lower (not in order) – Aaron Banks, Ryan Lankford, Josh Lenz, Greg Moore, Eric Thomas, Tony Washington

 


Reggie Wayne

Reggie Wayne tore his ACL last season, but the old vet seems to be back and better than ever. Wayne has been Andrew Luck’s security blanket ever since Luck was drafted and has saved Luck on numerous occasions. Wayne’s athleticism has never been great, but his instincts and his attention to detail has been beyond excellent. He’ll be an important player on the 2014 team.

 

TY Hilton

TY Hilton made fans around the league remember his name with his big play ability and his great speed. Hilton made great strides from his rookie season that, although impressive, was marred with inconsistent hands and route running. He cleaned up those areas last season. Hilton’s role has expanded over the last 2 years. His importance increased dramatically from year 1 to year 2 and his role on the team should only get bigger moving forward.

Hakeem Nicks

Hakeem Nicks was a big part of the Giants’ offense for years, however, last season was marred with inconsistency and the Giants decided to let him go. Nicks is a strong receiver with good hands, and on top of giving Andrew Luck a good target to throw to, Nicks brings something only a few Colts on the roster have: Super Bowl experience.

 

Donte Moncrief

The 2014 3rd round pick has a long way to go before he makes a big impact in the NFL, but Moncrief provides great depth as a rookie. He will learn the subtitles of the game from some great receivers. Moncrief should have a very small impact and will play in a role similar to Lavon Brazill’s last season (he’d be lucky to put up Brazill’s numbers).

 

Da’Rick Rogers & Griff Whalen

Da’Rick Rogers’ potential is the reason why many fans are excited about his future. Rogers is an athletic big-bodied receiver who showed a couple of flashes of brilliance last season (more specifically in the Bengals game). He should have more of a depth role this season, but could have a small impact in a few games. Griff Whalen shined in the latter portion of the season and because of his familiarity with the offense, he could be a nice depth player to keep around.

 

Training Camp Bodies / Practice Squad Players

Of all the training camp bodies, it doesn’t seem like any of them have a legitimate chance of overtaking any of the establishing young experience players (Whalen and Rogers), but there will definitely be at least one, maybe 2 players that could make their way onto the practice squad. At this point, it’s a toss up, but Josh Lenz seems like a favorite considering he was on the roster last year and even made his way onto the active roster for the final game. Eric Thomas was a borderline draft player who ended up going undrafted which make his chances decent, but other than that, it’s a toss up.

 

 


Battles

There will be a few battles going on at training camp, but mostly between the guys in the middle of the pack and the borderline roster guys. The first battle will be between the several training camp bodies for those practice squad spots (or maybe spot instead of spots). This is an even battle and it will come down to who performs best during camp because the coaches know a minimal amount about each of them. The other battle will be between Da’Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen. If the Colts intend to keep 5 receivers on the roster, it will be a great battle between Whalen and Rogers for that 5th spot. Both are relatively even. Rogers has the better upside along with the superior athleticism (but his mental health is still a question mark). Whalen may not be as athletic, but he’s saavy and his production is far superior to that of Rogers’. The coaches will be giving these guys (along with Moncrief) similar amounts of snaps, most likely on the #2 team, so it will be interesting to see who outperforms who. Finally, it terms of the top 3 guys, it should work out well. Nicks was always an outside guy for the Giants, and Wayne has spent a lot of time in the slot, however, if they intend to play 2 receivers, it will be a battle between Hilton and Nicks to get on the field, but both should see the field a lot, especially Hilton.

 


Overall Impression

Overall, this is a great with star power up front and good depth behind them. They have a lot of quality receivers and they will have to make some hard cuts. This is a good problem to have if you’re the Colts. Reggie Wayne and TY Hilton will most likely be their usual selves and will compliment each other very well. Hakeem Nicks is a wildcard. It’s either going to be a 800+ yard season for him or he’ll barely crack 500 yards. He’s a talented receiver who puts up good numbers but his role in the offense has yet to be determined.

Even with the release of Lavon Brazill, the Colts have great depth behind the top 3, starting with Donte Moncrief. Da’Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen should be depth until otherwise noted. They may even see the field more than Moncrief. Moncrief is purely a long-term project, meaning that his impact for this season and probably next season will be very small. Nevertheless, his role should increase over the years and if he reaches his potential, watch out!

This group is very impressive and over the last 3 years, Ryan Grigson has done a superb job of getting talent around Andrew Luck.

 


Grade (1 – Very Poor | 5 – Acceptable | 10 – Excellent)

8.5 – Very Good

 

 


Colts Release Brazill; Sign Burks

Posted by Andrew Aziz on July 11, 2014 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The Indianapolis Colts have released troubled wide receiver Lavon Brazill, and then signed another wide receiver in Aaron Burks.


The Lavon Brazill era is over in Indianapolis. After failing to pass the NFL Substance & Abuse Policy, the NFL decided to suspend Brazill for the entire 2014 season. Brazill had performed well down the stretch in 2013 and was targeted 13 times in the playoffs. Brazill was a free agent in 2016.

The Colts replaced him with another wide receiver: Aaron Burks. Burks is a rookie wide receiver who went undrafted in the NFL Draft. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was released shortly after. He makes his way onto an already loaded wide receiver corps in Indianapolis.

Over the last 2 seasons, it’s become clear that the Colts do not take this kind of nonsense.


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