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Old 04-02-2021, 01:01 PM
Ironshaft Ironshaft is offline
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Default Colts Roster – 2nd April 2021

My opinion of who is at the top of the depth charts for our position groups. I don’t expect any additional movement in free agency until after the draft. Players listed in what I believe is a rough starter / backup order.

As a general note, it is crazy how well Ballard kept together a team that went 11-5 in 2020 who suffered the loss of two of the team’s most important positions to retirement. We replaced one with, hopefully, the answer at QB for the next decade and will replace the other one in the draft.

IMO, Autry’s loss is the only one that “hurts.” Walker was replaceable by Okereke and Justin Houston was not the player in 2020 that he was in 2019 (and might be re-signed anyway). We re-signed all our other free agents that I felt were important to the team in 2020 (Rhodes, Hilton, Muhammad, Mack).

QB: Carson Wentz, Jacob Easton

Notes: It will be interesting to see if the Colts add a veteran free agent to compete for the backup spot. If the Colts are comfortable with Easton as the backup then I don’t expect we will see a veteran signed and just younger, developmental folks on the practice squad.

RB: Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins

Notes: This group is one HUGE safety blanket for a new QB to be walking into. An active and productive running game behind our offensive line can take a TON of pressure off of Wentz to play hero ball. Just need our QB to play smart and take smart shots downfield to back the defense off defending our “run the damn ball” attack.

WR: T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Dezmon Patmon
WR: Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell, De’Michael Harris

Notes: The first position group that I could see a draft pick being added to. Hilton is older and only on a 1-year contract so I could see the logic of using a 1st/2nd round pick on WR to replace him. Campbell is injury prone and neither Patmon or Harris are proven so I could see the logic of getting a lower round draft pick that they like. I could see the team standing pat on the above six, using an early pick on WR or a later pick for depth.

TE: Jack Doyle, Mo Allie-Cox

Notes: Love the familiarity of those two guys but they need to add a body to the position group for the season. If we trade down in the 1st and pick up a 3rd round pick, I love a lot of the TE draft picks that are projected to go in the third round in 2021. This is also a slot where a veteran free agent could easily be added.

OC: Ryan Kelly, Joey Hunt

Notes: No worries here. Kelly is a good starter and has been rock solid since drafted. Hunt was who filled in for Nelson when Nelson slid out to play left OT when Castonzo went down. 10 reps and he looked solid to good on them. He is the probably the primary depth for any of the interior OL positions.

OG: Quenton Nelson, Mark Glowinski, Danny Pinter, Will Holder

Notes: Pretty much the same group that was in place last season. No worries, no issues, good solid group with one super-stud. I don’t expect any additional movement at OG this season. Hopefully, Pinter makes a big 2nd year jump this season to become someone who can take over for Glowinski after his contract is up following 2021.

OT: Braden Smith, Julie’n Davenport, Sam Tevi

Notes: The first HUGE gaping hole in our roster at starting left OT. MUST use 1st or 2nd round pick to fill the need. If we miss on that, then there are some veterans out there that could fill the hole for a year until we try again in 2022 (Russell Okung, Alejandro Villanueva, Eric Fisher, Jason Peters). I like signing Tevi and Davenport as known quality depth. Neither are good starters but both would provide quality play for a play, game or three before wearing down. Assuming we fill the need at starting left OT via the draft or free agency, I like the position group a TON more than in 2020.

OFFENSIVE ROLE-UP: Pretty much returning the same offense as last season with the exception of QB due to retirement and needing to add a new starting left OT in the draft to replace that retirement. If Mack is healthy, the run game should be even more lethal than it was at the end of the season and we have a QB with the arm strength to hit the long ball unlike in 2020. Now, if the QB also regains the superior touch, accuracy and decision making he displayed early in his career…stay tuned!

Still to Fix #1 = Left Offensive Tackle starter
Still to Fix #2 = Tight End depth
Still to Fix #3 = Addition at Wide Receiver? (not convinced this is needed for 2021 but I could see it)

DT: DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, Rob Windsor, Isaac Rochell

Notes: Love the starters in Buckner and Stewart; less than enthused with the depth. I liked last year’s projected depth with Autry and Day a lot more than Windsor and Rochell. I could see Ballard using a 4th/5th/6th/7th round pick on DT.

DE: Kemoko Turay, Ben Banogu
DE: Al-Quadin Muhammad, Tyquan Lewis

Notes: Turay is oft-injured and Banogu was a no-show last season. Muhammad and Lewis are solid guys who play the run pretty well but do not bring much heat in the pass rush. This position group is SCREAMING out for both a high round rookie to help as well as a veteran signing. Not many vets left on the market that could help in 2021 (Clowney, Houston, Kerrigan, Okafor) but they could bring the heat as a situational pass rusher for one season. If not for a missing starting left OT, DE would be priority #1 AND #2 to fill for the season.

WSLB: Darius Leonard, Matthew Adams
ILB: Bobby Okereke, Zaire Franklin
SSLB: E.J. Speed

Notes: Looking forward to see what Okereke can do as a full-time starter. Like what Speed looked like as a rookie on his few snaps and having both Adams and Franklin stick through three seasons and into a 4th after being drafted low brings a LOT of comfort as to how well the know, and can execute, the system. It would surprise me if we draft a LB this year.

SS: Khari Willis, Sean Davis, Rolan Milligan
FS: Julian Blackmon, George Odum

Notes: Like the position group. Looking forward to seeing both Willis and Blackmon get another full off-season / training camp under their belts. Both still very young players with lots and upside. I trust Odum as a 3rd safety and like the depth of Davis and Milligan. I could see another safety added to the mix but it also would not surprise me if they stand pat.

CB: Xavier Rhodes, Marvell Tell
CB: Rock Ya-Sin, Tremon Smith
SCB: Kenny Moore, Isaiah Rodgers

Notes: The big IF is if Ya-Sin can stabilize as a starter and if Tell can regain form from his rookie year and progress. IF those two things happen, then the position group is in good shape. If not, then we will struggle. It would not surprise me at all to see a draft pick or two be made here if BPA or the addition of veteran help after the draft. I love the potential of this group but you cannot live on potential alone at CB.

DEFENSIVE ROLL-UP: The defense is at a huge risk of a regression in 2021 if we cannot solve our deficiencies on the D-Line and if our CB group does not progress. If D-Line gets fixed, then it can also help our secondary look good. We are returning most of our starters and that is always a good thing for a defense that ended up in the top half of the league in almost every category (except pass rush).

Still to Fix #1 = 1 or 2 new Defense Ends
Still to Fix #2 = Defensive Tackle depth
Still to Fix #3 = Addition to the Cornerback group

OVERALL: Our team lost 5 starters from 2020: two to retirement, Walker was allowed to walk, Autry took more guaranteed money (but same money overall) to leave and Houston is unsigned by anyone. We had one replacement in the wings (Okereke), we traded for another (Wentz) and need to find quality replacements for Castonzo, Autry and Houston. I had hoped that pre-draft free agency would have solved at least one of those issues with a high-quality starter but, alas, Ballard choose to keep his powder dry.

Still to Fix #1 = Starting left OT (1st or 2nd round pick)
Still to Fix #2 = 1 or 2 Defensive Ends (1st or 2nd round pick)
Still to Fix #3 = Defensive Tackle depth (4th/5th/6th/7th round pick)
Still to Fix #4 = Depth Tight End (4th/5th/6th/7th round pick)
Still to Fix #5 = Addition to Cornerback group (4th/5th/6th/7th round pick)
Still to Fix #6 = Addition to Wide Receiver group (4th/5th/6th/7th round pick)

Theoretically, the draft can provide the solution to all of the team’s needs IF the cards fall just right. Otherwise, some work will still need to be done in veteran free agency after the draft to shore up the roster.

My two cents.
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