With Training Camp starting next week for the Indianapolis Colts, it’s time to debate who the Colts best player is because there are few players that you can make cases for.
Richardson has yet to play a snap for the Colts in a meaningful game, yet he is already the most athletic player on the roster. There is only one other player on the roster that could match the rushing highlights of Richardson (Jonathan Taylor). The part that makes me hesitant on labeling Richardson as the best Colts player, it’s the fact he hasn’t played in big games. At Florida he played a handful of ranked opponents, but nothing compares to playing in a NFL playoff game. Additionally, Richardson needs to show that can learn, adapt, and develop into a franchise quarterback.
It’s no secret what type of player JT is for the horseshoe. When he’s healthy, you can make the case that he is right there with Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry as the best running back in the National Football League. You name a rushing stat from the 2021 season, the answer will more than likely be Jonathan Taylor. He simply has a knack for turning five-yard gains into big chunk plays like teams have in the passing game nowadays. When Taylor touches the ball, good things are more than likely going to happen. If involved in the passing game, he can make things easier for Richardson by offering a safety valve if he doesn’t see anything down field. The area where JT struggles though is in pass protection and if he’s not a three-down back, then does that lower his ranking when discussing who the best Colt is?
It was hard deciding if I should include DeForest or Grover Stewart in this spot, but when thinking about how offensive coordinators game plan for the Colts defensive front, Buckner is the player that makes this list. DeForest has the ability to shut down the opposing team’s run game by being double teamed to make it easier for another defensive lineman or a linebacker to make a tackle close to the line of scrimmage to prevent big gains in the run game. In the passing game, Buckner gets to the quarterback occasionally, but he does force pressure to move quarterbacks off their spot. Also, with his long arms, he can make things difficult for opposing quarterbacks to complete short passes over the middle of the field with the chance he deflects one at the line of scrimmage.
Assuming Shaq is able to get healthy to play at an All-Pro level, Leonard can impact a game in multiple ways. His ability to force turnovers changes games. It allows the Colts to potentially dominate time of possession, halts momentum for the opposing offense, and creates momentum for the entire Colts sideline. The problem is that nobody knows if Shaq can get back to that. Ever since his second surgery last year, the updates on Shaq have been the same. We’ve yet to see a workout video or a video of him running around on a field. If I were a Colts fan, I would be hesitant to think he will be suiting up week one. Additionally, I would also think that it’s highly unlikely we see Leonard’s impact to the level in which landed him on the side of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Answer? Undoubtedly Jonathan Taylor. Other players that came to mind regarding the best players on the Colts roster were Grover Stewart, Zaire Franklin, Quenton Nelson, Kenny Moore, and Michael Pittman Jr.
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