INDIANAPOLIS – The cuts have begun.
On Tuesday, NFL teams had to start trimming their 90-man rosters.
The Colts got down to the mandated number of 85, with another 5-person cut coming next Tuesday.
And then the giant, final, roster cut occurs on Tuesday, August 31st, with teams having to be down to 53 players.
Let’s give a 53-man roster projection for the Colts with two preseason games to go (number of players currently at that position, number being kept, number kept at that spot last year):
Quarterbacks (4/3/3): Jacob Eason, Sam Ehlinger*, Brett Hundley, Carson Wentz
Bowen’s Analysis: The injury situation with Wentz has me definitely keeping 3 quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. As long as Wentz is scheduled to return in September, he shouldn’t be an injured reserve candidate.
Running Backs (6/4/4): Nyheim Hines, Deon Jackson*, Bobby LeMay, Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor, Jordan Wilkins
Bowen’s Analysis: This continues to seem pretty obvious. I don’t view Wilkins as an unquestioned lock to make it. Still, he’s a very reliable option if/when injuries hit the top of this depth chart. I think his insurance is worthy of a 53-man roster spot, plus he helps on special teams.
Wide Receivers (10/6/6): Tarik Black*, Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, DeMichael Harris, T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Dezmon Patmon, Michael Pittman, Mike Strachan*, Tyler Vaughns*
Bowen’s Analysis: Ok, let’s start here: which players can you get through waivers and onto your practice squad? That is a factor the Colts will weigh. But if you are making the ‘best game day roster’ at wideout, I’m going with this 6, with Strachan and Dulin rounding out the group. Strachan strikes me as more of a mismatch problem than Patmon, and Dulin is a great special teamer.
Tight Ends (7/3/3): Mo Alie-Cox, Jack Doyle, Kylen Granson*, Farrod Green, Jordan Thomas, Noah Togiai, Andrew Vollert
Bowen’s Analysis: I don’t see room for four tight ends, even though some of these guys have received great opportunities to make an impression this camp.
Offensive Line (14/10/8): 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: I’m keeping Eric Fisher on the active roster to start the season. His presence though doesn’t mean an extra tackle should be overlooked on the 53-man roster, if Fisher is going to miss a couple of games. It’s probably Tevi, Davenport and Holden for two spots. Fries, a 7th round pick in 2021, has played several spots in camp and he would be a good candidate for the practice squad.
Defensive Line (15/9/9): Ben Banogu, Andrew Brown, DeForest Buckner, Kameron Cline, Joey Ivie, Tyquan Lewis, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Dayo Odeyingbo*, Kwity Paye*, Isaac Rochell, Taylor Stallworth, Grover Stewart, Kemoko Turay, Chris Williams, Antwaun Woods
Bowen’s Analysis: I’m placing Odeyingbo on the physically unable to perform list so that opens up a roster spot. Rochell was a tough cut and I don’t really like it, but Banogu has had a strong camp. I might have an extra reserve defensive tackle making it, with Brown and Woods both on my final roster. You could drop one of them and keep Rochell if you want more versatility. Stallworth missing time due to injury has hurt his roster spot.
Linebackers (10/6/7): Matthew Adams, Curtis Bolton, Zaire Franklin, Jordan Glasgow, Malik Jefferson, Isaiah Kaufusi*, Darius Leonard, Skai Moore, Bobby Okereke, EJ Speed
Bowen’s Analysis: This group hardly ever changes. Even though Glasgow has missed a good amount of time in camp, I still think his value on special teams is too much to let go. Adams has played a little fullback in goal line at camp.
Cornerbacks (9/5/5): T.J. Carrie, Andre Chachere, Anthony Chesley, Holton Hill, Kenny Moore, Xavier Rhodes, Isaiah Rodgers, Marvell Tell, Rock Ya-Sin
Bowen’s Analysis: Am I a number short in the secondary? I’ve got two tough cuts here. Chachere was tough because he’s played safety and corner this camp. That’s serious value on game day, not just the 53-man roster. Tell was another tough cut because you could contribute a sluggish camp due to him opting out last year. Again, hello practice squad spots for a corner or two.
Safeties (6/4/5): Julian Blackmon, Ibraheim Campbell, Sean Davis, Shawn Davis*, George Odum, Khari Willis
Bowen’s Analysis: I could be talked into another safety, but this is a group that has actually turned to a few corners (Carrie and Chachere) for safety playing time in camp. That’s not a great indicator of the depth.
Specialists (4/3/3): K-Rodrigo Blankenship, LS-Luke Rhodes, K-Eddy Piniero, P-Rigoberto Sanchez
Bowen’s Analysis: With Hot Rod still perfect in camp, he’s keeping his job.