Rookie minicamp took place last week as the Colts draft picks and undrafted free agents gave us our first glimpse into what the future of the Horseshoe will look like. It was an interesting class to say the least, but in the end, it’s all about how they end up playing this upcoming season. In this edition we take a look at all seven draft picks to see who will make the biggest impacts for Indy this year.
1. DE Kwity Paye – Full-Time Starter
You would have to think the Colts’ first round pick would obviously be the biggest impact for the team, especially being at one of the biggest positions of need. There are a handful of young edge rushers that have been drafted over the last couple years by Ballard in this room, but none of them would have quite the hype as Kwity Paye. I fully believe he will be a day one starter and will certainly develop quite nicely over the season.
2. S Shawn Davis – Backup/Special Teams
I’d like to put Dayo Odeyingbo here, but with his Achilles injury in January, it’s really difficult to say where he’ll be once he starts playing again. Davis has a very high motor and would be a solid option as the 3rd safety in this Colts defense. At the very least, he’s an excellent tackler and would be a great option on special teams.
3. DL Dayo Odeyingbo – Starter in Certain Packages
Regardless of injury, Odeyingbo will likely be back at some point this coming season. It may even be sooner than we think. Last year, Julian Blackmon was in a similar situation where he wasn’t expected to start playing until midseason and began getting reps by week 2. While an achilles injury is definitely not the same beast as Blackmon’s injury, it wouldn’t surprise me to have Dayo back by at least week 5-6. Once he gets back, this kid can play anywhere on the defensive line and is explosive wherever he’s lines up. You have to think it’s going to be hard to stop him.
4. TE Kylen Granson – Backup/Certain Packages
While I still have hope that Zach Ertz will find his way to Indy to reunite with Carson Wentz and Frank Reich.The rookie tight end out of SMU still has a great chance to get some quality snaps. Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox will almost surely be TE1 and 2 respectively, but Kylen Granson will likely be getting reps as the move tight end to really put his skills to good use. As great as he is with the ball in his hand, you have to think he’s going to make a solid impact for this stellar offense.
5. OL Will Fries – Versatile Backup
Fries is guaranteed to be nothing more than offensive line depth, but in his case, that’s a good thing. He’s very versatile and in his 42 starts at Penn State, he played four of the five positions on the offensive line (didn’t play center) and did so at a pretty high level. With all five starters on the Colts’ line seemingly set, Fries could be almost an instant plug-and-play anywhere, should any of the starters go down. Versatility is the best thing to have on the offensive line, and in Fries’ case, I could see it landing him a spot on the roster.
6. WR Michael Strachan – Practice Squad
Strachan has a very slim shot to make this roster year one with the amount of young receivers the Colts have, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Development may work out well for him with all of the physical gifts he has to his advantage. Too tall for corners, too fast for linebackers, Starchan has the athletic profile of a Calvin Johnson-type receiver. Now I’m not saying he’s even close to the talent that Megatron had, but as a tall, physical freak of nature, that’s what you see with Michael Strachan. If he can work on the more important aspects of a receiver like route running and catching the football, he could end up being solid depth in this young wide receiver room.
7. QB Sam Ehlinger – Practice Squad/QB2
In one of the more questionable picks of the Draft, Sam Ehlinger is likely only here to battle out the backup quarterback spot with last year’s fourth-round pick, Jacob Eason, and while Eason definitely has the better arm talent, Ehlinger is much more of a dual-threat, giving him the advantage of possibly coming in on the packages that featured Jacoby Brissett last season. It will be an interesting battle in camp, but I fully believe Jacob Eason is a much better player than Ehlinger and I loved Sam in college.