Yet another injury in Sunday’s contest against the Jets has led the Colts to make a roster move to improve the depth and talent at WR. 24-year old receiver Marcus Johnson went down with an ankle injury and the Colts moved him to the IR on Tuesday morning. The glaring lack of depth at the position forced GM Chris Ballard to make a move in free agency. The Colts signed FA Wide Receiver Dontrelle Inman.
The 29-year old UVA product was undrafted and soon after signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he didn’t quite make the cut and moved to the CFL where he won a grey cup with the Toronto Argonauts. In 2014 Inman made his NFL debut with the San Diego Chargers, but played sparingly, only catching 12 passes on 17 targets. In 2015, in only 14 games Inman recorded 35 receptions on 63 targets for 486 yards and 3 touchdowns. But in 2016 Inman blossomed in San Diego.
A healthy 2016 season and Phillip Rivers at the helm benefited Inman greatly, Inman played 97.6% of the Chargers offensive snaps in 2016, he also received 17.5% of targets from Rivers that season. His 58 receptions ranked #46 in the NFL that season. He also boasted a steady 59.8 % catch rate that placed him #55 in the NFL. Inman only had a 4.1% (4 drops in 16 games on 97 targets) drop rate that season as well, something the Colts have struggled with tremendously.
He also recorded a +7.4 production premium, which he ranked #37 in ( a stat that covers a player production over the span of a game, discounting non-standard situations such as garbage time and 2-minute drills.) Inman proved to be an extremely efficient player in somewhat limited opportunities, he was not as flashy a free agent signing as Dez Bryant or other WRs, but he is surely the most steady and best option for the Colts.
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Inman’s ability shows through best in his route running, a film review of some of his 2016 highlights show his skill with his hands and feet as a receiver and show how Inman can be a contributor to the Colts.
Here, Inman runs a zig route against Miami, he keeps a wide base coming out of his break, allowing him to plant and reverse field against his corner while keeping his balance, lastly, he makes an adjustment on a poorly thrown pass and makes the catch:
In this clip, Inman runs an out-n-up route, He puts on a clinic on how to use your body, and uses his 6’3″ 205-pound frame to put separation between him and the ball, he also makes an on the fly adjustment to go get a ball that severely underthrown and save his quarterback:
Inman’s physical prowess in his frame shows on this route, Inman needs to create space against press man to man coverage. Inman uses his strength to shrug off his defender, create space and secure a catch for a first down in a short yardage situation, something Frank Reich relies on from his receivers:
Inman uses his leverage here to embarrass Alterraun Verner, he knows Verner has ground to cover is Inman runs a dig route, Inman sells his dig route with his head, feet, shoulder, and entire body, Vernon sells out to recover for an In route, but Inman breaks toward the sideline using Verner’s momentum against him, he then shows some RAC ability after he makes the grab and fights for a touchdown. Inman’s ability to sell this in route and run all his routes the same makes him a threat to break cornerbacks down:
Inman shows his ability to fool defensive backs again in this clip, he sells a dig route, by squaring his shoulder, head, and feet to the middle of the field, and drawing the safety in, then uses his speed and burst to blow by him. Then he tracks the ball down and scores a touchdown. Also, notice how similar it looks when he reaches the top of his route:
Lastly, Inman flashes strong and reliable hands and the footwork to make sideline grabs. The Colts lack reliable passing options, and I believe Inman’s reliability could go a long way to finish this season as a Colt. Hopefully, he can become integrated into the offense as soon as possible, and perhaps provide Andrew Luck with a target he hasn’t had all year.
All stats via playerprofiler.com