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INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of 1070TheFan.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our mailbag.

 

Submit your questions here.

 

Here is the collection of Saturday questions:

 

Brandon (Lindenhurst, NY)

 

Will Darius Leonard start this season? Im hoping he can be our big guy on defense alongside with sheard. Is Marlon Mack good enough to be our 3 down back for the a while?

 

Bowen: Yes, Leonard will. He’s definitely going to be a starter and he’s going to play a lot, in sub packages, too. For Marlon Mack, I’m still in the prove it stage before I definitely crown him a 3-down back. Jim Irsay has some seriously high expectations for Mack in 2018. I thought he made some strides in the pass blocking game late last season. If that continues in 2018, he can be that sort of back. But I still think the Colts are going to be a big time running back by committee team. Mack to me is the closest thing on this roster to being a possible 3-down guy though.

 

David (Fort Worth, TX)

 

Is it size, technique, leverage, speed, and/or moves that make Nelson so much better than Smith? Smith size is within 10 lbs and he is slightly taller. I’ve heard terms such as raw with Smith and polished and not rookie like for Nelson….It isn’t like Auburn is divison 2…will Smith be able to learn from Nelson?

 

Bowen: Quenton Nelson is rare, really rare. Let’s start there. His ability to bend and move at 6-5 and 330 pounds isn’t something you see every day. It’s why he was a consensus top-10 pick by everyone in the NFL. Now, Smith started 41 games in the SEC. That’s nothing to turn your head at. But the Colts still need to see more from Smith until they really insert him into a starting lineup conversation. Is it adding strength to be able to handle more powerful interior rushers at the NFL level? Smith needs to learn from the veterans on this roster because Nelson just has so many uncommon physical characteristics. It’s hard to directly relate to that. I still think Smith has the makeup to be a starter in this league. Injuries have forced the Colts to use Smith some at right tackle at camp, after he was only a reserve right guard in the spring. That position flex will serve him well moving forward.

 

James (Muncie, IN)

 

Hines was lauded a bunch before camp by many reporters (including you), but his name hasn’t been mentioned much since camp. Is that a red flag or should we wait till preseason games to see what he does?

 

Bowen: James, I think wait till the preseason. Full transparency, I’ve been very high on Hines since he was drafted. I still think he will be a welcomed asset to this offense looking for playmaking and versatility. Early on, it looks as if Hines will be a guy used more as a receiver. I’m thinking Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins will be the main runners to start the season. And then Hines is going to be that hybrid runner/receiver (or a ‘gadget’ player as Ballard describes him). He’s getting a good amount of first-team work. I just still believe he’s too unique of a weapon not to have on the field, getting touches to, on a weekly basis.

 

Jordan (Oklahoma City)

 

I would simply like some clarity on Quincy Wilson. He is a second round pick who does not seem to get a lot of 1st team reps on a team with a depleted corner unit. Is he just straight up losing out to the other corners? 

 

Bowen: Early on in camp, Jordan was right. Wilson wasn’t getting many first-team reps. That changed a bit this week, with Wilson climbing into a few more starting reps, even though the Colts are still rotating a lot of corners. I still think Wilson will win the starting job in the long run. But it’s clear this staff is testing him a bit and wanting the 21-year-old to prove himself. Here was Frank Reich earlier this week on Wilson: “Really competitive. Really tough. Caught my eye right away even back when he came in for the rookie thing. He was running at a different speed than everybody else it seemed like at first. So very competitive, tough. He’s got that toughness about his play that is what we’re looking for.” Wilson did get beat on Friday night on the long touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to K.J. Brent.

 

C.J. (Concord, CA)

Hey Kevin I appreciate what you do for Indy fans all around the world keep it up ! I have two questions for you today hopefully you can answer them both. First with our DB and Wr position being very young and inexperienced do you see Ballard bring in more competition after cuts come around during preseason and for question two How vital is Malik hooker and his comeback from injury to this young up and coming defense. In other words does he have any value to Eberflus and his schemes ? Thanks and Go Colts ! 

 

Bowen: Really appreciate that, C.J. Great to hear you are following along from California. 1. Yes. Both of those position groups should be explored, especially corner. Honestly, I bet how the Colts look at receiver and cornerback are two of the most inexperienced position groups in all the NFL. Along with WR and CB, I think linebacker and running back are two other positions that the Colts need to explore big time at the final roster cuts. Can you find a Jack Doyle, Rashaan Melvin, Matthias Farley type of gem at the end of August? 2. Very, very vital. Hooker is massive for this defense taking another jump. Look at Hooker’s rookie season. He had 3 picks in 7 games after missing virtually the entire offseason. So, let’s say he projects that into 6-7 interceptions for an entire season. That would have been 3rd in the NFL last year. The Colts desperately need that playmaking. The system from Eberflus is still going to be based on a ton of zone looks, which should allow for Hooker to be that roaming/ball-hawking type of safety.

 

Anthony (Springfield, TX)

 

What is your take on the team overall? How do you feel the offense and defense will stack up this coming season?

 

Bowen: Well, I really want to see a couple of preseason games before I give the definite prediction on the season. It’s just so difficult to give a confident take right now with so many questions still remaining. I will say the offensive side of the ball will be the unit who is (again) doing the heavy lifting. Fans should feel very good about the progress of Andrew Luck through the first week and a half of camp. Defensively, you worry about the playmaking in the front seven. And then the health of potential playmaking safeties remains a question. Come back to me at the end of the month to see how much my 6-7 win prediction changes.

 

Bryan (Plainfield)

The “experts” at espn are saying that Houston and the Raptors are the two teams viaing for the third best team in the association. With houston losing key role players and Raptors adding Kawhi do you think these teams are overrated? What teams would you put as true contenders? 

 

Bowen: We end with a couple of Pacers questions. I’m not 100 percent sold just yet on Houston repeating what they did. And then with the Raptors, you have an intriguing starting five in the weaker conference. I like what they did, but you’ve to make things mesh with the Leonard fiasco. If you are looking for ‘true’ contenders, it starts with the Warriors and Celtics. After that, I would put the Rockets, Raptors, 76ers, Pacers, maybe the Thunder, Jazz, Lakers and Bucks in that next group of teams.

 

Leonardo (Rio de Janeiro)

 

Hi, Kevin. First, a Pacers question: what can we expect from Pacers next season? With Lebron going west, do you think thats reaching NBA Finals is realistic? Now, Colts: do you think that we could add some players from FA when the 53 man rosters cut come? And if so, what are the positions where we should look first? Regards.

 

Bowen: I think the Indiana Pacers are in the 3-4 range in the Eastern Conference. Teams like Boston and Philadelphia still have a better makeup in my mind and have a pretty high ceiling. Toronto, Indiana and Milwaukee are other teams in the mix of earning a homecourt series in Round One. With LeBron out West, it definitely opens things up. But I see the Pacers as needing one more piece before they can get past Boston, and even Philly, in representing the Eastern Conference. With the Colts, as I mentioned above, keep an eye on running back, wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback as positions that could use some upgrading.