Listen Live

INDIANAPOLISWe’ve now seen the rookies strap on the full pads, even though it would have been much better to have watched them in preseason action.

Nonetheless, the Colts had some nice impressions from their rookies during camp.

Based off a 1-to-10 scale (1 being lucky to make the roster, 10 being a definite full-time starter), let’s project the playing time for the Colts 2020 draft class:

WR-Michael Pittman (7-8): I’ve dialed this back just a hair since the spring. Pittman still brings a lot of value to the Colts offense, but I envision much more of a jumbled playing time puzzle at the wideout position, after T.Y. Hilton. The likes of Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal and Pittman are all going to play important roles during games. So, I don’t see Pittman as an unquestioned 80-90% snapper from Week 1. I expect more of a rotation among that trio.

RB-Jonathan Taylor (7-8): I’ll keep Taylor in this number range, knowing that Marlon Mack is definitely the starter at running back. Early in the season, I still think Mack will be the back getting an extra series or two, with Taylor still contributing quite a bit. If Taylor can show ball security, and pop off those occasional chunk runs, that will earn him more and more playing time. Expect some 2-back package creativity that could have Taylor, as well.

S-Julian Blackmon (4-5): First, let’s commend Blackmon for getting back to practice just 8 and a half months removed from tearing his ACL. Now, projecting when Blackmon will make his NFL debut in a game/what his role will look like is a bit difficult. A healthy Blackmon gives the Colts a guy with cornerback and safety background, which should be attractive in sub packages. The Colts do like their safety depth and you know patience will be practiced with Blackmon. Maybe he makes his game debut in late September, playing around 20-ish snaps a game?

QB-Jacob Eason (2-3): Again, I fully expect Eason to make the 53-man roster. The Colts are pleased with the progress he’s made in a shortened camp. But unless something happens to Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett, Eason isn’t likely to take a snap in 2020. Considering Rivers has made 224 consecutive starts, and the Colts willingness to keep Brissett despite his massive cap hit, do not hold your breath on Eason playing as a rookie. Of course, it’s even possible that Eason would be passed up by Chad Kelly for emergency game action, if needed (and also if the Colts can get Kelly on the practice squad). Kelly has played in the NFL before, been in this system for two offseasons and did backup Brian Hoyer for a game last season, whereas Eason has never even played in an NFL preseason game.

OG-Danny Pinter (5-6): I’ve bumped Pinter up a bit for a couple of reasons. First, I think he’s the top reserve offensive linemen in the interior to start the season. That goes for both guard and center. Also, I see Pinter being a jumbo package option, something that Chris Ballard has pointed out. Remember, Pinter was a college tight end turned right tackle, has experience playing out on the edge, which is the role he would have a la Joe Haeg from last year. One injury in the interior would likely place Pinter into the starting lineup.

DT-Rob Windsor (3-4): I thought Windsor had one of the better camps of any Colt. He frequently flashed and wreaked havoc against the second-team offensive line. With the injury situation to Sheldon Day, I view Windsor as a guy making the 53-man roster, and rotating in as the Colts play in waves up front. If Day is going to miss more time, Windsor might be the team’s best pure defensive tackle, with a chance to play a little nose, behind Grover Stewart, in a pinch.

CB-Isaiah Rodgers (4-5): With Marvell Tell opting out, the numbers at corner have shrunk. Despite Rodgers being a much different body type, he’s in the mix as a reserve option. I expect Rodgers to make the 53-man roster and be a special teams guy from Day 1. He might be the team’s kick returner. I think it’s premature to place Rodgers in defensive sub packages, but he’s one injury at corner away from possibly seizing a much bigger role.

WR-Dezmon Patmon (2-3): Even though Patmon had just 12 career starts in college, he’s done a nice job with the second unit this camp, and might squeeze his way onto the 53-man roster. Still, I think his 2020 impact is minimal. Keeping him on the 53 would be more so to protect him from someone claiming him off waivers. However, he doesn’t have much of a special teams history and still needs more development at wideout. But there’s been a couple of nice moments from Patmon in camp. 

LB-Jordan Glasgow (3-4): I’ve dropped this number a little because I can’t see anyway Glasgow gets defensive run this year, unless a slew of linebacker injuries occurs. Now, as long as Glasgow makes the team (I think he will, but can’t lock it in just yet), he’s still going to be a key special teamer for the Colts. It’s clear the Colts really like their 7-man linebacker group, with no obvious cuts. Former 7th round picks Zaire Franklin and Matthew Adams are doing a good job of maintaining a presence.

Undrafted Class: If you are making me rank some undrafted free agents to make the team, I can’t confidently say any of them will. I would rank these guys as possibilities: K-Rodrigo Blankenship, TE-Farrad Green, WR-DeMichael Harris, OT-Carter O’Donnell, CB-Travis Reed.