INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have their first 53-man roster of the 2022 season.
With Tuesday’s deadline of 4:00 PM, the Colts have cut their roster down to 53 guys.
Here are some takeaways from the Colts 53-man roster (number of players kept at that position; * indicates rookie):
Quarterbacks (3): Jack Coan*, Sam Ehlinger, Nick Foles, Matt Ryan
Bowen’s Analysis: The Colts feel the need to keep Ehlinger on their initial 53-man roster. Given the solid health of the 53-man group, the Colts have some room to stash with a 3rd quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see
Running Backs (3): Nyheim Hines, Deon Jackson, Phillip Lindsay, D’Vonte Price*, Jonathan Taylor, Ty’Son Williams
Bowen’s Analysis: I am surprised by the cutting of Lindsay. He’s a sure-handed (no fumbles in career 803 touches) veteran runner, who would fit that emergency back role, which is so necessary when you value running back as much as the Colts do and have a workhorse like Taylor. Plus, with a growing receiving role for Hines, I see extra value in having a 3rd running back with a proven resume. The Colts are rounding out their running back room with Jackson, who is a guy the staff has liked. Jackson, a 2021 undrafted free agent, did have some ball security issues in camp, with his impact needed more so on special teams right now.
Wide Receivers (6): Parris Campbell, Keke Coutee, Ashton Dulin, DeMichael Harris, Ethan Fernea*, Samson Nacua*, Dezmon Patmon, Alec Pierce*, Michael Pittman, Mike Strachan
Bowen’s Analysis: One thing I struggled with here at wideout is picking the 6 best receivers, or picking the 6 best guys for game day. Those are different things, with a heavy special teams influence on the latter of those. With Mike Strachan back and healthy, he’s shown enough to put him on the 53-man roster. Coutee is a guy I liked for Parris Campbell insurance, but a lingering groin injury for him had me putting Patmon on the 53-man roster. Plus, you could probably try and get Coutee and/or DeMichael Harris on the practice squad, like you had last year.
Tight Ends (3): Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, Michael Jacobson, Nikola Kalinic, Jelani Woods*
Bowen’s Analysis: With Drew Ogletree on injured reserve, this group going with 3 tight ends makes a lot of sense. Jacobson is a practice squad candidate, in my opinion. If the Colts don’t feel comfortable playing Jelani Woods right now, maybe they explore the waiver wire for another tight end.
Offensive Line (8): Ryan Ven Demark*, Wesley French*, Will Fries, Dennis Kelly, Ryan Kelly, Jordan Murray, Quenton Nelson, Danny Pinter, Matt Pryor, Bernhard Raimann*, Josh Seltzner*, Braden Smith
Bowen’s Analysis: Eight is a small number for Chris Ballard, but it reflects the obvious depth questions the Colts have along the offensive line. It’s very unproven, with 0 starts among the 3 current backups, including two rookies and a 7th round pick from last year. Kelly getting cut is a bit of a surprise but he’s missed around the last month due to a knee procedure early in camp. I’ll go with a waiver wire move here to open up another spot.
Defensive Line (10): Ben Banogu, Curtis Brooks*, DeForest Buckner, Kameron Cline, Byron Cowart, Eric Johnson*, Tyquan Lewis, R.J. McIntosh, Yannick Ngakoue, Ifeadi Odeingbo, Dayo Odeyingbo, Kwity Paye, Grover Stewart, Chris Williams
Bowen’s Analysis: Whittling down this position group had been difficult. Keeping 10 for a long stretch might not be something the Colts can do, but it’s how they’ll start their 53-man roster. Out of Banogu, Cline and Odeingbo, Banogu probably had the least production this camp/preseason, however he’s going to get another chance to show why he was taken in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft. Cowart is a bit of a surprise, but he represents a body in the middle. Brooks is the lone 2022 draft pick to get cut. He didn’t show much in camp and battled an injury. Maybe he’s a practice squad option? Williams missed a few weeks of camp and that hurt his chances of retaining an interior defensive line spot. The interior of this group could see some waiver wire attention.
Linebackers (6): JoJo Domann*, Zaire Franklin, Brandon King, Shaquille Leonard, Bobby Okereke, Forrest Rhyne*, James Skalski*, EJ Speed, Grant Stuard, Sterling Weatherford*
Bowen’s Analysis: Leonard is on the 53-man roster, which means he’s eligible to practice and play right away, although that’s no guarantee to happen this week. The expectation is Leonard will need some practice time before he suits it up in a game. How dire was the Colts search for some new core special teamers? The Colts exchanged 6th and 7th round picks with the Bucs for special teamer Grant Stuard. In 2021, Stuard played 311 special teams snaps. That would have been 4th on the Colts special teams snap list from last year, with key guys in Matthew Adams (1st on that list), George Odum (3rd on that list) and Jordan Glasgow (7th on that list) no longer in Indy. To me, the move for Stuard is much more special teams related vs. linebacker need given Leonard’s weird injury situation. The Colts are going with Domann over Weatherford, who did show something in the preseason finale and might have had a spot until the trade for Stuard. Domann was always a guy who looked like he belonged dating back to spring. King, who is known for his special teams history, was a cut after injuring his hamstring in the 2nd preseason game.
Cornerbacks (6): Tony Brown, Anthony Chesley, Brandon Facyson, Dallis Flowers*, Stephon Gilmore, Kenny Moore, Isaiah Rodgers, Marvell Tell, Chris Wilcox
Bowen’s Analysis: The top 4 names at corner were pretty obvious. Tony Brown wins the 5th spot over Anthony Chesley, based off his experience with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and defensive backs coach Ron Milus. Flowers is another undrafted free agent to make the team. He can help you out as a returner, if that’s needed.
Safeties (5): Julian Blackmon, Nick Cross*, Marcel Dabo*, Trevor Denbow*, Rodney McLeod, Will Redmond, Rodney Thomas*, Armani Watts
Bowen’s Analysis: The back end of this group was up in the air late into camp. Denbow has been terrific on special teams though and probably benefited from Watts suffering a season-ending ankle injury in Saturday’s preseason finale.
Specialists (3): K-Rodrigo Blankenship, LS-Luke Rhodes, P-Rigoberto Sanchez, P-Matt Haack
Bowen’s Analysis: Blankenship won whatever camp battle there was with Jake Verity. Will the Colts try to scour the waiver wire for another kicker? The team placed Sanchez on IR during Tuesday’s roster cuts, meaning his season is officially over with a torn Achilles.