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INDIANAPOLIS – Summer vacation is here for the Indianapolis Colts.
When the team reports for Training Camp on July 25, the roster will be 90 players.
In a little over a month from then, that roster will be down to 53 players as Frank Reich begins his first season as a head coach.
Even though full pads have yet to be worn this offseason, and things will change a lot once that happens during camp and after seeing other opponents in the preseason, let’s take an early look at what the 53-man roster could look like for the Colts.
Here goes nothing (current number of players on the roster, number that is being kept on the 53):
Quarterbacks (4/2): Jacoby Brissett, Brad Kaaya, Andrew Luck, Phillip Walker
Bowen’s Analysis: It’s crazy to think the Colts actually initially kept 4 quarterbacks on their 2017 roster. I’m keeping just 2 this time, because I’m basing that off a healthy Andrew Luck, plus not having or truly needing room to carry Brad Kaaya in a more luxury/non-impact 53-man roster spot.
Running Backs (6/4): Josh Ferguson, Nyheim Hines, Marlon Mack, Christine Michael, Robert Turbin, Jordan Wilkins
Bowen’s Analysis: This seems pretty straight forward to me, unless Michael really impresses in camp. The 4 backs I’m keeping all have pretty defined roles in my eyes of this new offense, with Wilkins probably the least likely to play from Day One.
Wide Receiver (13/5): Dres Anderson, K.J. Brent, Deon Cain, Reece Fountain, Ryan Grant, T.Y. Hilton, Krishawn Hogan, Sentavioius Jones, Steve Ishmael, Zach Pascal, Chester Rogers, Kasen Williams, James Wright
Bowen’s Analysis: Right now, it’s hard to push anyone else into my top-5 wideouts. You have the two draft picks (Fountain and Cain) along with the 3 guys clearly having separated themselves on the spring depth chart.
Tight Ends (6/4): Mo Alie-Cox, Darrell Daniels, Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope, Ross Travis
Bowen’s Analysis: Tight end is probably the deepest position on the team. I could honestly see any of these 6 guys making the team, but give me the intriguing option of Travis after what I saw late last season. Swoope must get healthy after missing the entire spring.
Offensive Linemen (15/10): C-Deyshwan Bond, T-Tyreek Burwell, T-Anthony Castonzo, G/T-Le’Raven Clark, OG-Mark Glowinski, T/G-Denzelle Good, T/G-Joe Haeg, T-Austin Howard, C-Ryan Kelly, T-Jared Machorro, T/G-Jack Mewhort, G-Quenton Nelson, G-Matt Slauson, G-Braden Smith, OG-Jeremy Vujnovich
Bowen’s Analysis: Keeping 10 offensive linemen is a lot, but the Colts have pretty good quality with this group. A relatively big name is going to be cut from this group. I went with Clark (a 2016 third-round pick) there. I decided to keep Vujnovich, who played every snap at left guard last season, over Bond, who has a strong case as a more natural backup center.
Defensive Linemen (15/9): DT/DE-Denico Autry, DE-Tarell Basham, DT-Margus Hunt, DE-Anthony Johnson, DT-Tomasi Laulile, DT/DE-Tyquan Lewis, DE-Chris McCain, DT-Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT-Caraun Reid, DT-Hassan Ridgeway, DE-Jabaal Sheard, DE-John Simon, DT-Grover Stewart, DE-Kemoko Turay, DT-Al Woods
Bowen’s Analysis: This is a group that Chris Ballard wants to rotate a lot on game days. Like offensive line, the Colts are going to have to cut some capable players in the defensive trenches. It’s hard to predict this group accurately, but I’m keeping Stewart over Ridgeway, Simon over McCain (for now). It’s hard to see a definite fit for Hunt in this scheme, so I went with Nunez-Roches.
Linebackers (10/6): LB-Tyrell Adams, LB-Matthew Adams, LB-Zaire Franklin, LB-Jeremiah George, LB-Najee Goode, LB-Darius Leonard, LB-Skai Moore, LB-Antonio Morrison, LB-William Ossai, LB-Anthony Walker
Bowen’s Analysis: Keeping fewer linebackers this year (in transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3), this group is really up for grabs. Yes, I’m cutting a couple of 7th round picks (Adams and Franklin), but keeping an undrafted free agent (Moore). In Tyrell Adams, he’s a guy that actually received a good amount of starting reps this spring at the SAM position. George is a guy I don’t love cutting because of his special teams impact.
Cornerbacks (10/5): Juante Baldwin, Pierre Desir, Lashard Durr, Nate Hairston, Robert Jackson, Chris Milton, Kenny Moore, Henre’ Toliver, Quincy Wilson, D.J. White
Bowen’s Analysis: Keeping just 5 cornerbacks might not be enough. However, I think the Colts will use a safety in their dime package. That would leave the roles of Moore and White to mostly special teams. Milton has been a strong special teams player in the past.
Safeties (7/5): Chris Cooper, Matthias Farley, Clayton Geathers, T.J. Green, Malik Hooker, Ronald Martin, George Odum
Bowen’s Analysis: You need some insurance here given the injury history of Geathers and Hooker. If Hooker doesn’t end up on PUP to start Week 1, I think 5 safeties is enough depth.
Specialists (4/3): K-Mike Badgley, LS-Luke Rhodes, P-Rigoberto Sanchez, K-Adam Vinatieri
Bowen’s Analysis: No brainer. Sanchez and Rhodes were pretty flawless in their first year of these NFL duties. Vinatieri has been that for more than 20 seasons.