INDIANAPOLIS – Compared to the other 4 rookie classes for Chris Ballard, this group has played the least in their first NFL season.
That was to be expected with how the 2021 Draft unfolded for Ballard and the Colts.
How have the rookies performed through 9 games?
- DE-Kwity Paye (7 games, 7 starts): The last time we saw Paye on the field it was the best he’s looked as a rookie. Paye has yet to record a sack, but he did have his first quarterback hit(s) against the Jets (2 of them). With just one tackle for loss, Paye has had a quiet start to his rookie season, while playing through a lingering hamstring issue, but you are starting to see a little bit more disruption from him in passing situations.
- DL-Dayo Odeyingbo (2 games, 0 starts): Odeyingbo made his NFL debut in Week 8 and has logged 41 snaps in 2 games (1 tackle). With Tyquan Lewis done for the season, the Colts are going to lean on the versatile Odeyingbo even more moving forward. Against the Jets, the long Odeyingbo was already being used in the team’s third-down pass rush package.
- TE-Kylen Granson (9 games, 0 starts): I’ve been surprised by the lack of play time for Granson. In playing all 9 games, Granson has been on the field for just 86 offensive snaps. He’s caught 5 balls for 49 yards. His 27-yard catch and run against the Jets was the rookie highlight so far. With the injuries at wideout, you wonder if Granson will see any expanded role in the final two months of the season.
- S-Shawn Davis (0 games): The 5th round pick from Florida was cut at the end of the preseason. Davis joined the Indy practice squad after that, but his stay there was only for a week. Davis has been on the Packers practice squad since the end of September.
- QB-Sam Ehlinger (1 game, 0 starts): Ehlinger is the new backup QB to Carson Wentz with the Colts cycling through Jacob Eason and Brett Hundley already. Once Ehlinger recovered from a preseason knee injury, it was pretty clear that he was going to be a 53-man roster mainstay. The staff is obsessed with Ehlinger’s character. As a player, Ehlinger was used for a goal-line carry last Thursday. At 225 pounds, Ehlinger can bring a little power to the short-yardage game, if the Colts want to explore such a package.
- WR-Mike Strachan (6 games, 0 starts): After catching 2 balls in the season opener, Strachan has played just 10 offensive snaps since the end of September. We forget that Strachan didn’t play college football last year and he learned only one position during camp. A limited background in special teams isn’t helping Strachan either from playing. Unless the Colts want to try Strachan in just a red-zone role, his rookie season will likely be a redshirt type of year.
- OL-Will Fries (0 games): The Colts have had their 7th round pick on the 53-man roster, but he’s yet to play in a game. Fries is probably the 9th offensive lineman right now, offering some versatility if need be.
- RB-Deon Jackson (2 games, 0 starts): With Jordan Wilkins getting cut, and Marlon Mack as a healthy inactive, the Colts actually had Jackson as their 3rd running back on Thursday night. Jackson, an undrafted free agent out of Duke, has played 28 special teams snaps in two games, but has yet to see the field offensively. With Mack still in the 2021 plans, the role for Jackson this year will probably be exclusively on special teams, if he’s dressing.