INDIANAPOLIS – For the first time in the 2020 offseason, the Colts roster sits at 90 players.
With the Colts still in a virtual phase to their offseason program, it’s possible there will be no in-person activities during the spring.
That could impact how the team’s 90-man roster will cut down to 53 later this offseason. In 2020, under the new CBA, teams can promote two players from their practice squad each week, bumping the roster to 55.
Here is a look at a 53-man roster projection following the draft:
Quarterbacks (3): Jacoby Brissett, Jacob Eason*, Chad Kelly, Philip Rivers
Bowen’s Analysis: Eason ‘beats’ out Kelly for the 3rd QB spot. Like they did to end last season, the Colts are going to have to carry 3 QBs in 2020, but this time for the entire year, barring injury.
Running Backs (3): Bruce Anderson III, Nyheim Hines, Darius Jackson, Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor*, Jordan Wilkins
Bowen’s Analysis: Some will be surprised by the Jordan Wilkins omission. It’s nothing really against Wilkins. It’s just what is the need for him, with how little the Colts have used a 4th running back? With the two bonus practice squad spots having to be called up each week, I could see the 4th RB occupying a place there. If the Colts want to take a number away at wide receiver, linebacker or cornerback, they could then carry a 4th running back.
Fullback (1): Roosevelt Nix
Bowen’s Analysis: No Wilkins means room for an extra skill player. We will go with Nix, as his special teams background is beneficial.
Wide Receivers (6): Rodney Adams, Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, Reece Fountain, DeMichael Harris*, Malik Henry, T.Y. Hilton, Marcus Johnson, Zach Pascal, Dezmon Patmon*, Michael Pittman*, Artavis Scott, Chad Williams
Bowen’s Analysis: Four spots are a lock at wide receiver: Hilton, Campbell, Pittman, Pascal. We will go with 6 here. Dulin was a strong special teams presence as an undrafted rookie last season. Let’s go with Fountain making it over Johnson and Patmon (who I would put on the practice squad). Fountain needs to show consistency and some special teams ability to secure a spot.
Tight Ends (3): Mo Alie-Cox, Ian Bunting, Trey Burton, Jack Doyle, Farrod Green*, Xavier Grimble, Matt Lengel
Bowen’s Analysis: I’m probably a number short here, considering how much Frank Reich likes to use this position. But there’s not a lot of definite answers behind Jack Doyle. You hope Trey Burton can stay healthy. You hope Mo Alie-Cox takes another step. This is a position to watch as we see the occasional roster move play out the rest of the offseason.
Offensive Line (9): OT-Anthony Castonzo, OT-Le’Raven Clark, OT-Andrew Donnal, OG-Jake Eldrenkamp, OG-Mark Glowinski, OG-Chaz Green, OT-Brandon Hitner, C-Ryan Kelly, OT-Cedrick Lang, OT-Carter O’Donnell*, OG-Quenton Nelson, C-Javon Patterson, OG/C-Danny Pinter*, OT-Braden Smith, OT-Travis Vornkhal
Bowen’s Analysis: You’ve got to put one UDFA somewhere on here, right? Well, how about the Canadian product in O’Donnell making it 22 straight seasons the Colts have had at least one UDFA on their Week 1 roster? Backup offensive tackle is still a worry. Le’Raven Clark and O’Donnell will be the backups out at tackle. Then, we’ll go with Jake Eldrenkamp and rookie Danny Pinter beating out Javon Patterson for the interior reserve spots. Keeping 9 offensive linemen is not an unusual number for Chris Ballard.
Defensive Line (9): DT/DE-Denico Autry, DE-Ben Banogu, DT-DeForest Buckner, DT-Kameron Cline*, DE-Kendall Coleman*, DT-Sheldon Day, DE-Gerri Green, DE-Justin Houston, DE-Jegs Jegede, DT/DE-Tyquan Lewis, DE-Al-Quadin Muhammad, DT-Grover Stewart, DE-Kemoko Turay, DT-Chris Williams*, DT-Rob Windsor*
Bowen’s Analysis: We know this is going to be a very difficult group to cut down. I’ll go with Lewis beating out Windsor for the final spot. But if Windsor can show the ability to back up Grover Stewart, he might just make the team. Still, the versatility of Lewis playing inside and outside (on run downs) has me putting him on the 53-man roster.
Linebackers (6): Matthew Adams, Zaire Franklin, Jordan Glasgow*, Darius Leonard, Skai Moore, Bobby Okereke, EJ Speed, Anthony Walker, Brandon Wellington*
Bowen’s Analysis: This is a tough group to round out. I’ll go with Glasgow as a definite core special teamer. It might come down to special teams between Adams, Franklin and Glasgow for 2 spots. This position keeping just 5 players would not stun me.
Cornerbacks (6): T.J. Carrie, Kenny Moore, Picasso Nelson Jr., Lafayette Pitts, Jackson Porter, Travis Reed*, Xavier Rhodes, Isaiah Rodgers*, Marvell Tell, Rock Ya-Sin
Bowen’s Analysis: A special teams role (plus a backup nickel spot) is how Rodgers earns this 53-man roster spot. At cornerback, he should not be needed from Day One. But if he can be a return man for you in 2020, that will help his cause in making the team. If not, it’s going to be a challenge to be on the final roster.
Safeties (4): Julian Blackmon*, Malik Hooker, Rolan Milligan, George Odum, Donald Rutledge*, Khari Willis
Bowen’s Analysis: I’ll go with Blackmon opening up the season on the PUP list. Of course, when Blackmon does get fully healthy, he will have a presence on the 53-man roster.
Specialists (3): K-Rodrigo Blankenship*, K-Chase McLaughlin, LS-Luke Rhodes, P-Rigoberto Sanchez
Bowen’s Analysis: McLaughlin’s NFL experience gives him the edge in this kicking competition with Blankenship.