The Indianapolis Colts are officially one week away from the start of training camp with veterans set to report July 26.
Among those veterans will be the linebackers led by Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke. The Colts didn’t make too many changes to the linebacker room outside of adding a veteran special teamer and two intriguing undrafted rookie free agents following the 2022 NFL draft.
Be sure to check out the other position previews ahead of training camp:
Here’s our preview for the linebacker position entering training camp:
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There’s not much more to say about Leonard that fans don’t already know. He’s one of the most productive and impactful linebackers in the NFL entering his fifth season in the league. What Colts fans need to know is that The Maniac underwent surgery this offseason and could miss some time during training camp. He’s expected to be ready for Week 1, but it’s best to look at this with a cautiously optimistic approach.
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This is a big year for Okereke, who enters training camp on the final year of his rookie deal. He took over the full-time starting MIKE role in 2021 following the departure of Anthony Walker. Okereke has the potential to be an above-average linebacker in the NFL given his length and athleticism. He’s solid in coverage and has the range necessary to be in the middle of the defense.
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The former seventh-round pick got a nice extension during the offseason, signing a three-year deal. While Franklin doesn’t see that much work on the defensive side of the ball—his main impact comes on special teams—he was third on the team in snaps at linebacker during the 2021 season. Franklin’s roster spot is safe after signing a new deal and should continue to make an impact on special teams as one of its captains.
AP Photo/Darryl Webb
Like Okereke, Speed enters a contract year in the final year of his rookie deal. He has spent the last three seasons working mostly on special teams and in a depth role as the backup to Darius Leonard. That role will continue and potentially grow a smidge while Leonard rehabs from offseason surgery. It will be interesting to see if the Colts give him more work on the defensive side of the ball given his potential.
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King was signed during the offseason after spending the majority of his career working as a special teams mainstay with the New England Patriots. After Jordan Glasgow was waived due to a failed physical, it opened up a spot on the roster. King will be looking to secure that final spot because of his special teams work but will have some stiff competition from a pair of young undrafted free agents.
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Weatherford signed with the Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2022 NFL draft out of Miami University (OH). One of the undrafted free agents with a chance of making the roster, Weatherford had a strong spring to build off of after letting his athleticism do the work. He has to earn that spot on the roster, but Weatherford is one of the rookies to watch closely throughout camp and the preseason games.
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Like Weatherford, Domann had a strong spring after signing with the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska. He was one of the top undrafted rookies in the 2022 class and will be competing for the final spot in the linebacker room with four others. Those final two spots after the first four players on the list will be composed of a strong competition that includes Domann.
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An undrafted free agent coming out of Villanova, Rhyne will have a tougher time making the roster. The Colts certainly have some intrigue in him given that they signed him after the draft, but he’ll have to make some loud noise during camp to secure one of the final spots in the room.
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Skalski comes from a premier program in Clemson, but he was an older prospect and one that doesn’t boast elite athleticism. He likely profiles more as a two-down thumper with the ability to contribute on special teams. It will be hard for him to make the roster, but there may be a spot on the practice squad for him if he doesn’t make it.