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INDIANAPOLIS – A draft class that will impact this franchise’s future for years to come is about to return to work.
Rookies reconvene at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Sunday, a few days ahead of the Colts reporting for their 2018 Training Camp.
With 5 picks in the second round, the Colts have some high-level rookies entering the depth chart.
Based off a scale of 1-to-10 (1 being lucky to make the roster, 10 being a definite 16-game starter), let’s project the playing time for the Colts 2018 draft class:
OG-Quenton Nelson (10): Lock. Moving on.
LB-Darius Leonard (7-8): Normally, for a player who has missed the entire offseason program, this is a number that shouldn’t hover that high. But the Colts have a huge need for an athletic linebacker to play the WILL position. If Leonard is indeed healthy once camp starts next week, and can learn this ‘simpler’ defensive system, he’s going to play a lot.
OG-Braden Smith (3-4): Unless something changes early in camp, it’s looking like Matt Slauson will be the team’s starting right guard in 2018. Things can shift quickly along the offensive line, once the full pads come on, but we didn’t see Smith take starting reps in the spring. Right now, it looks like 2018 could be a ‘redshirt’ year for Smith in terms of him being with the second team.
DE-Kemoko Turay (6): If Turay shows any semblance of a pass rushing trait against NFL linemen, he’s going to get on the field. However, he’s not going to be an every-down guy as a rookie. That’s going to Jabaal Sheard and Tarell Basham early on.
DL-Tyquan Lewis (5-6): With Lewis, you have a very productive college defensive lineman from Ohio State. It looks like Lewis will play in the interior for the Colts, so he could be a nice reserve for them in the waves of defensive linemen they are looking to play.
RB-Nyheim Hines (8): Hines might not be a ‘starter’ in 2018, but he’s going to play a lot and receive plenty of touches. The Colts can’t afford to have him not touching the football, whether that’s lining up in the backfield or out at receiver.
WR-Reece Fountain (4): Like Deon Cain, Fountain brings a unique skillset to the receiver position. He just didn’t do it on as high of a level as Cain in college. Right now, Fountain is probably looking mostly at a special teams role in 2018.
RB-Jordan Wilkins (4): This number is on the rise after Robert Turbin was suspended for the first 4 games of the season. If Wilkins can show some early-down ability, he might sneak into the weekly game plan for the first quarter of the season.
WR-Deon Cain (6): The Clemson wideout is currently on the outside-looking in for one of the top 3 wideout spots. But he’s knocking on that door and brings very intriguing traits, with size that the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers don’t have.
LB-Matthew Adams (2): Adams is first competing for a roster spot before challenging for serious playing time.
LB-Zaire Franklin (2): Franklin is first competing for a roster spot before challenging for serious playing time.