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It’s been an eventful offseason for the Colts and training camp at Grand Park, and preseason football has come to a close. However, one of the hardest things about being a GM and HC in the National Football League comes next; cutting the team down to 53. With multiple spots still up in the air, the team has some tough choices to make by the deadline Tuesday at 4 pm EST. So I decided to take a stab at predicting which 53 players will make the initial roster.

Offense:

QB:  (3)

1. Matt Ryan

2. Nick Foles

3. Sam Ehlinger

QB 1 and 2 have been locked in all training camp with vets Ryan and Foles. If you asked me before training camp, that’s where the QB spots would stop. But Sam Ehlinger came out and earned the spot day in and day out. He showed a solid grasp of Reich’s offense and tremendous improvement from where he was last year. I’m not big on the idea of keeping three QBs myself, but I feel like now is not the time to send Ehlinger through waivers if the team values him long-term.

 

RB: (3)

1. Jonathan Taylor

2. Nyheim Hines

3. Phillip Lindsay

The Colts’ RB room is full of talent from top to bottom. Taylor is among the league’s best (if not the best) RBs, followed by Hines and Lindsay, who are proven commodities. The question for this room was if the team would keep four backs and, if so, who it would be. I believe the two leading candidates for the RB4 job were Deon Jackson and D’vonte Price. But at the end of the day, the RB4 spot would primarily see a role on special teams, and I feel that other positions’ depth spots have shown more in that department through camp and preseason.

 

WR: (6)

1. Michael Pittman Jr.

2. Parris Campbell

3. Alec Pierce

4. Ashton Dulin

5. Michael Strachan

6. Keke Coutee

The WR room was one of the toughest spots to cut down on the entire roster. The top four are locked in, and in my opinion, Strachan has shown enough since coming back to have the fifth spot. The WR6 job came down to Coutee and Patmon for me, and with the team seemingly wanting to utilize Hines more on offense, Coutee’s return ability gave him the edge. However, I could see the team seeing enough upside to keep Patmon instead of Coutee; it’s very close.of Coutee here it is very close.

TE: (3)

1. Mo Alie-Cox

2. Kylen Granson

3. Jelani Woods

The TE room has felt pretty set in stone all camp. The only change came from a devasting knee injury to rookie Ogletree who was having a standout camp performance. Following the injury, I haven’t seen any TE step up to claim the TE4 spot and therefore I see the team using the roster spot elsewhere.

OT: (4)

1. Braden Smith

2. Matt Pryor

3. Benhard Raimann

4.Dennis Kelly

Smith, Pryor, and Raimann’s spots were locked up before camp even began, and the team’s best option for the 4th tackle spot, Dennis Kelly, sadly got injured early in camp, and no timetable has been given on his possible return. If veteran Dennis Kelly has to miss significant time, I envision the team making a move via waivers or trade.

OG: (3)

1. Quenton Nelson

2. Danny Pinter

3. Will Fries

Depth guard Will Fries has really impressed me this preseason, and he has added a solid pass protection game to his already strong run protection skill set. I’d trust Fries to play snaps at LG or RG in a pinch if the need arises at any point. Some have questioned Pinter’s play through camp, and although I have noticed the inconsistencies, I dont envision his play being a problem for the team this year.

OC: (1)

1. Ryan Kelly

Although I believe Wesley French outplayed his undrafted status, the team has made it clear that if Kelly were to miss time, they’d slide Pinter over to center. For that reason using the roster spot elsewhere for the time being and sliding French on the practice squad seems like the best course of action.

 

Defense:

DE: (6)

1. Yannick Ngakoue

2. Kwity Paye

3. Tyquan Lewis

4. Dayo Odeyingbo

5. Ifeadi Odenigbo

6. Ben Banogu

 

This room was tougher to cut down this year than any year in recent memory. One tough cut was Kameron Cline, who I believe showed out before missing time with an injury. I went back and forth between keeping five and six edge rushers. The odd man out would have been Banogu, but the lack of depth for the LEO spot led to him getting the last DE spot. If the waivers offer a better option for that spot though, Banogu’s time in Indy may come to an end.

IDL: (5)

1. Deforest Buckner

2. Grover Stewart

3. Eric Johnson

4. RJ McIntosh

5. Curtis Brooks

The interior defensive line room is an interesting group. Buckner and Grover are the for sure starters, but the production behind them could be worrisome this year. A couple of young raw prospect players, Eric Johnson and Curtis Brooks, had enough flashes that I couldn’t cut them. And a surprise camp player in RJ McIntosh, who made plays anytime his name was called in camp and showed solid work in the run game through preseason. Again if any proven playmakers find their way on waivers, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Indy had to part ways with McIntosh or Brooks to make room.

 

LB: (6)

1. Shaquille Leonard

2. Bobby Okereke

3. Zaire Franklin

4. E.J. Speed

5. JoJo Domann

6. Sterling Weatherford

A choice must be made soon on whether or not Leonard will start the year on the PUP list. If he indeed does not, the six above seem like the best route for the team to take. Domann and Weatherford have made too many plays on special teams and the 2nd and 3rd team defenses not to make this roster. If Leonard were to end up on the PUP list, I would envision the team keeping veteran Brandon King around.

 

S: (5)

1. Julian Blackmon

2. Nick Cross

3. Rodney McLeod

4. Rodney Thomas

5. Trevor Denbow

The safety room this year may be the spot I feel the most comfortable that the team doesn’t even have to think about what players go on waivers. Rookie Nick Cross showed exactly why the team traded a future 3rd to move up and take the safety. Cross has played himself into the starting job, in my opinion, with a reliable veteran Rodney McLeod in place to rotate in at times if necessary throughout the year. Keeping five safeties may seem like a lot, but rookie Rodney Thomas seems like the clear backup to Blackmon as the single high safety, and Trevor Denbow has been phenomenal on special teams.

 

CB: (5)

1. Stephon Gilmore

2. Kenny Moore

3. Isaiah Rodgers

4. Brandon Facyson

5. Tony Brown

Corner is a spot where I believe the team could be actively looking at waivers or potential trades to add a player they trust more in the CB5 spot. For now, it felt like a two-man battle between Brown and Chesley as of late, and Brown’s ability to play on the outside gives him the edge to me.

Special Teams:

K: (1)

1. Rodrigo Blankenship

Entering this training camp, Hot Rod seemed to be on the hot seat. Throughout camp, he stayed consistent and showed signs that his leg power had improved over the summer. The team made a decision before the final cuts as they released the other kicker on the roster in a recent roster move.

 

P: (1)

1. Matt Haack

Filling Rigoberto’s shoes will be no easy task, but in the preseason finale, Haack was incredible. Haack was able to pin the Buccaneers inside the 20 on all of his punting attempts and had great hangtime on all but the last.

 

LS: (1)

1. Luke Rhodes

Rhodes has been one of the best long snappers in the league since he started with the Colts. He will be a big part of helping new punter Matt Haack get off to a good start this year.

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