INDIANAPOLIS – Roster cuts will look a little different for the NFL in 2021.
With training camp starting next week, the Colts have their 90-man roster.
That roster will eventually reach the mandated number of 53 (along with a 16-man practice squad again in 2021), with 3 separate cut dates.
August 17th: Cut from 90 to 85
August: 24th: Cut from 85 to 80
August 31st: Cut from 80 to 53
That means 3 preseason games will be the time to shine for guys needing to make an impression to secure a roster spot.
Let’s give a 53-man roster projection for the Colts entering camp (current numbers at that position, how many are being kept in 2021, how many were kept in 2020):
Quarterbacks (4/2/3): Jacob Eason, Sam Ehlinger* Jalen Morton, Carson Wentz
Bowen’s Analysis: It will be interesting to see how teams handle the 3rd QB on the 53-man roster debate this year, with COVID-roster implications still lingering. I’ll slot Ehlinger onto the practice squad though, assuming that the Colts don’t need that insurance policy of a 3rd QB eating up a roster spot each week.
Running Backs (7/4/4): Darius Anderson, Nyheim Hines, Deon Jackson*, Bobby LeMay, Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor, Jordan Wilkins
Bowen’s Analysis: On paper, this seems pretty obvious. I don’t view Wilkins as an absolute lock to make it though. Still, he’s a reliable option if/when injuries hit the top of this depth chart.
Wide Receivers (13/6/6): Tarik Black*, Parris Campbell, Quartney Davis, Ashton Dulin, DeMichael Harris, T.Y. Hilton, Gary Jennings, J.J. Nelson, Zach Pascal, Dezmon Patmon, Michael Pittman, Mike Strachan*, Tyler Vaughns*
Bowen’s Analysis: Dulin maintains that necessary special teams role. Harris, Nelson and Strachan are all names that I thought about pretty hard. It will really come down to balancing out the skillsets/body types and satisfying the special teams needs, too..
Tight Ends (7/3/3): Mo Alie-Cox, Jack Doyle, Kylen Granson*, Farrod Green, Jordan Thomas, Noah Togiai, Andrew Vollert
Bowen’s Analysis: This seems pretty straight forward. Again, with 16 practice squad spots, you’ve got room for guys.
Offensive Line (15/10/8): Jake Benzinger, Julie’n Davenport, Jake Eldrenkamp, Eric Fisher, Will Fries*, Mark Glowinski, Will Holden, Joey Hunt, Ryan Kelly, Carter O’Donnell, Quenton Nelson, Danny Pinter, Chris Reed, Braden Smith, Sam Tevi
Bowen’s Analysis: Keeping 10 is a step up from last year’s initial cut down, but I’m paying attention to Chris Ballard’s emphasis on the trenches growing with 17 games now on the schedule. I’ve got Eric Fisher on the 53-man roster to start the year, and not on the physically unable to perform list. Fries, a 7th round pick, will be an interesting name to watch in camp.
Defensive Line (15/8/9): Ben Banogu, Andrew Brown, DeForest Buckner, Kameron Cline, Tyquan Lewis, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Dayo Odeyingbo*, Kwity Paye*, Isaac Rochell, Taylor Stallworth, Grover Stewart, Kemoko Turay, Chris Williams, Rob Windsor (IR), Antwaun Woods
Bowen’s Analysis: I’m probably a number short here. I’m placing Odeyingbo on the physically unable to perform list so that opens up a roster spot. Guys like Stallworth and Banogu were tough debates. Banogu has some special teams history, so that helps him. It’s hard to keep a lot of depth at defensive tackle, which had me giving the nod to Woods over Stallworth.
Linebackers (9/6/7): Matthew Adams, Zaire Franklin, Jordan Glasgow, Malik Jefferson, Isaiah Kaufusi*, Darius Leonard, Skai Moore, Bobby Okereke, EJ Speed
Bowen’s Analysis: This group hardly ever changes. Adams and Glasgow must be special teams’ locks to make the team.
Cornerbacks (8/6/5): T.J. Carrie, Andre Chachere, Anthony Chesley, Kenny Moore, Xavier Rhodes, Isaiah Rodgers, Marvell Tell, Rock Ya-Sin
Bowen’s Analysis: I don’t see a ton of debate at this position. You can keep 6 cornerbacks and not feel like that’s a waste.
Safeties (8/5/5): Julian Blackmon, Ibraheim Campbell, Sean Davis, Shawn Davis*, Rolan Milligan, Nick Nelson, George Odum, Khari Willis
Bowen’s Analysis: The Davis’ boys need to join Odum on the special teams train. If the Colts wanted, they could keep just 4 safeties.
Specialists (4/3/3): K-Rodrigo Blankenship, LS-Luke Rhodes, K-Eddy Piniero, P-Rigoberto Sanchez
Bowen’s Analysis: I’ll give the nod to Hot Rod retaining his kicking spot, but this will be a fun battle to watch.