The Colts have finished the preseason at this point with a 3-1 record. Players have stepped up and players have disappointed. Let’s take a crack at what the 53-man roster will look like come week one.
Quarterbacks (2): Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett
Andrew Luck seems to be healthy for the time being after his solid preseason performance. Jacoby Brissett remains as the primary backup and one of the best backups in the NFL. Phillip Walker will likely be called up from the practice squad if anything were to happen to Luck or Brissett.
Running Backs (4): Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Christine Michael
Marlon Mack is the guy on this roster and will take the lion share of the snaps when he is on the field. In my opinion, Nyhiem Hines nor Jordan Wilkins didn’t show much promise to indicate that they would be capable starters at the NFL. Christine Michael was more impressive than both but his concussion combined with the fact that he isn’t a rookie leads me to believe that he won’t make the roster, despite my disapproval. Robert Turbin’s suspension keeps him around for now, though. Despite his suspension, the Colts will keep Turbin around for his short yardage and pass blocking capabilities.
Wide Receivers (5): T.Y. Hilton, Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, Daurice Fountain, Zach Pascal
Deon Cain’s season-ending ACL injury has opened up another roster spot at receiver and Zach Pascal has forcibly taken it. He had a spectacular preseason, defying all expectations. He absolutely deserves to be the fifth receiver on this depth chart. T.Y. Hilton and Chester Rogers are mainstays and despite his lackluster preseason, Ryan Grant should be as well. Daurice Fountain has massive upside and flashed in the final preseason game, warranting a roster spot.
Tight Ends (4): Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Ross Travis, Erik Swoope
To make up for the lack of receiver depth, the Colts should carry four tight ends. Doyle and Ebron will be the two primary options and should see the field often due to Frank Reich’s propensity for two tight end sets. Travis and Swoope both had solid preseasons and should be the other two tight ends on the roster.
Offensive Linemen (10): Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Braden Smith, Joe Haeg, Matt Slauson, Austin Howard, Denzelle Good, Deyshawn Bond, Jeremy Vujnovich
The offensive line, despite how it looks on paper, could be troublesome this season. Anthony Castonzo’s injury has been devastating and has only amplified his performance. Aside from stud rookie guard Quenton Nelson and center Ryan Kelly, this line is shaky. Austin Howard has been awful but the Colts don’t have many other options. Rookie Braden Smith has shown potential but ultimately isn’t ready to assume a starting role.
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Defensive Linemen (10): Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Al Woods, Margus Hunt, Hassan Ridgeway, Grover Stewart, Kemoko Turay, Denico Autry, Tarell Basham, Ryan Delaire
The Colts may have found a gem of a pass rusher in former Panther Ryan Delaire. He flashed excellent pass rushing ability and run support in his preseason outing. Chris Ballard will be hard pressed to deny him a roster spot, especially after Tyquan Lewis likely landing on IR for the time being. Hassan Ridgeway dominated, likely earning himself a starting job. The Colts will need more guys to step up in pass rush if they want to beat good teams this season. Hopefully, Jabaal Sheard and John Simon can have as big of an impact as they did last season.
Linebackers: (6): Anthony Walker Jr., Darius Leonard, Skai Moore, Najee Goode, Zaire Franklin, Matthew Adams
In trading Antonio Morrison, the Chris Ballard is wisely moving towards more coverage focused linebackers that better suit the modern NFL. Luckily, it seems that Skai Moore and Darius Leonard will serve the Colts well as their coverage specialists. Both will play in the Colts’ nickel package, which is the de facto “base defense” of most modern NFL teams. Anthony Walker Jr. Will remain on the roster as the traditional run-stuffing backer. Late round rookies Zaire Franklin and Matthew Adams both played well enough to earn a roster spot.
Cornerbacks (5): Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore, Nate Hairston, Chris Milton, Pierre Desir
This group should look very similar to how it did last season. Wilson will act as the number one, Nate Hairston will man the slot, and the other three will battle it out to start at the other outside cornerback position.
Safeties (4): Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers, Matthias Farley, George Odum
George Odum was one of my favorite guys to watch in this preseason. He showed great energy, covered well, and played well in run support. He absolutely deserves to make the roster over T.J. Green, whose tenure in Indianapolis has been nothing short of a train wreck. If healthy, a safety rotation of Hooker, Geathers, and Farley should be one of the best young trios in the NFL.
Specialists (3): Adam Vinatieri (K), Rigoberto Sanchez (P, KOS), Luke Rhodes (LS)
Vinatieri will kick forever. Yadda yadda yadda. Rigoberto Sanchez will continue to be surgical and Rhodes will continue in his all-important duty of long snapping.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.