Colts’ 53-man roster prediction after offseason

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The Indianapolis Colts are away for summer following the conclusion of minicamp so it’s time for us to take a crack at predicting the 53-man roster.

Admittedly, this prediction is likely too early in the process. The spring workouts set the foundation for the position battles, but the jobs aren’t totally won until training camp and the preseason games arrive. At this point in the offseason, we can only go off of the information we have at hand.

With that said, there have already been some major changes to the roster since the last time we did a roster prediction. Now that the offseason workout program is concluded, here’s an updated look entering the summer:

Quarterback (2)

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1. Matt Ryan
2. Nick Foles

With Foles now in the mix, there’s no real reason to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster. Ryan has been an ironman throughout his career, and Foles won’t need much time to get back into Frank Reich’s offense. Put Sam Ehlinger on the practice squad, and this position is good to go.

Notable Cuts: Sam Ehlinger, Jack Coan

Running Back (4)

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

1. Jonathan Taylor
2. Nyheim Hines
3. Phillip Lindsay
4. D’vonte Price (UDFA)

There’s a chance they keep only three here but we’re going with four for special teams purposes. They did so last year, even if Marlon Mack was a healthy scratch for the majority of the second half of the season. Lindsay gets the nod over the two UDFAs and Deon Jackson. However, Price makes the cut due to his intriguing speed, potential as a kick returner and overall skill set as a runner.

Notable Cuts: Deon Jackson, C.J. Verdell, Ty’Son Williams

Wide Receiver (6)

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

1. Michael Pittman Jr.
2. Parris Campbell
3. Alec Pierce
4. Dezmon Patmon
5. Ashton Dulin
6. Mike Strachan

The Colts have to keep six wide receivers for depth purposes. The top three are locked in essentially while Patmon and Dulin have the inside tracks to the fourth and fifth spots. Strachan will be battling it out for the final roster spot in the room with Keke Coutee and DeMichael Harris. If he’s healthy and available for training camp, Strachan should be the favorite for that final spot.

Notable Cuts: Keke Coutee, DeMichael Harris

Tight End (3)

AP Photo/Terrance Williams

1. Mo Alie-Cox
2. Kylen Granson
3. Jelani Woods

We’re going with three here for a few reasons. One, depth is needed elsewhere. Two, adding a fourth tight end might be redundant considering the development that needs to take place with Andrew Ogletree, who is far and away the favorite for the fourth spot. Alie-Cox should be able to hold it down while Granson works as the F tight end. They could keep four, but Ogletree can find his way to the practice squad while Woods continues his development on the active roster.

Notable Cuts: Andrew Ogletree

Offensive Line (9)

AP Photo/Jeff Lewis

1. Matt Pryor
2. Quenton Nelson
3. Ryan Kelly
4. Danny Pinter
5. Braden Smith
6. Bernhard Raimann
7. Will Fries
8. Dennis Kelly
9. Ryan Van Demark (UDFA)

General manager Chris Ballard always talks about keeping 10 offensive linemen, but we’re going one short here. Even with questions at left tackle, Pryor can still be a versatile piece if he loses the job to Raimann. Fries has the versatility to work at both guard spots while Dennis Kelly is an ideal swing tackle. Van Demark makes the cut after getting a pretty strong signing bonus.

Notable Cuts: Jason Spriggs, Brandon Kemp

Defensive Line (9)

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

1. Yannick Ngakoue
2. DeForest Buckner
3. Grover Stewart
4. Kwity Paye
5. Dayo Odeyingbo
6. Ben Banogu
7. Curtis Brooks
8. Eric Johnson
9. Ifeadi Odenigbo

In this scenario, we are predicting that Tyquan Lewis starts the season on the PUP list after suffering a significant knee injury during the Week 8 loss to the Titans. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Colts play it safe with his recovery even if it means missing the first six games. Banogu is certainly a wild card here but I think his skill set fits nicely as a LEO, and we could see some flashes from him during training camp. With Lewis likely on the PUP, Odenigbo gets the final spot due to his versatility to work both as a LEO and a big end.

Notable Cuts: Bryan Cox, Scott Patchan, Kameron Cline

Linebacker (7)

AP Photo/Aaron Doster

1. Darius Leonard
2. Bobby Okereke
3. Zaire Franklin
4. E.J. Speed
5. Brandon King
6. Jojo Domann (UDFA)
7. Sterling Weatherford (UDFA)

Seven linebackers might be excessive. I get that. If and when the Colts add another safety, Weatherford would likely be the corresponding cut here. However, Domann and Weatherford both had strong enough spring showings that it might be enough to help them make the roster in special teams roles. Weatherford could even add additional help as a SAM backer or a box safety.

Notable Cuts: N/A

Cornerback (6)

AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

1. Stephon Gilmore
2. Kenny Moore II
3. Isaiah Rodgers
4. Brandon Facyson
5. Anthony Chesley
6. Tony Brown

We still have no idea what the outcome will be for Moore and his potential holdout at training camp. The final two spots in the room are completely up for grabs. Chesley saw some run with the Colts late last season while Brown adds some serious speed to the secondary. Seventh-round pick Rodney Thomas II is intriguing but probably needs development on the practice squad.

Notable Cuts: Rodney Thomas II, Marvel Tell III, Marcel Dabo, Dallis Flowers (UDFA)

Safety (4)

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1. Julian Blackmon
2. Nick Cross
3. Rodney McLeod
4. Armani Watts

The surprise retirement of Khari Willis throws a wrench in the whole secondary. It’s likely the Colts will need to add another safety if Watts is going to play solely on special teams as George Odum did. Cross is waiting in the wings as the starting strong safety, but it’s difficult to see the Colts trusting Brandon King or Sterling Weatherford as a regular safety on the active roster.

Notable Cuts: Trevor Denbow (UDFA)

Specialists (3)

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

1. Rigoberto Sanchez
2. Rodrigo Blankenship
3. Luke Rhodes

Nothing to see here really. Sanchez and Rhodes are locked in. Blankenship is leading the kicker battle with Jake Verity, but he should win that job as the incumbent starter.

Notable Cuts: Jake Verity

Overview

Offense (24)

Pos.

First

Second

Third

QB

Matt Ryan

Nick Foles

RB

Jonathan Taylor

Nyheim Hines

Phillip Lindsay
D’vonte Price

WR

Michael Pittman Jr.

Alec Pierce

Ashton Dulin

WR

Parris Campbell

Dezmon Patmon

Mike Strachan

TE

Mo Alie-Cox

Kylen Granson

Jelani Woods

LT

Matt Pryor

Bernhard Raimann

Ryan Van Demark

LG

Quenton Nelson

C

Ryan Kelly

RG

Danny Pinter

Will Fries

RT

Braden Smith

Dennis Kelly

Defense (26)

Pos.

First

Second

Third

DE

Yannick Ngakoue

Ben Banogu

DT

DeForest Buckner

Dayo Odeyingbo

Curtis Brooks

DT

Grover Stewart

Eric Johnson

DE

Kwity Paye

Ifeadi Odenigbo

LB

Darius Leonard

E,J. Speed

Jojo Domann
Sterling Weatherford

LB

Bobby Okereke

Zaire Franklin

Brandon King

CB

Stephon Gilmore

Isaiah Rodgers

Tony Brown

CB

Kenny Moore II

Brandon Facyson

Anthony Chesley

SAF

Julian Blackmon

Armani Watts

SAF

Nick Cross

Rodney McLeod

Specialists (3)

Pos.

Player

P

Rigoberto Sanchez

K

Rodrigo Blankenship

LS

Luke Rhodes

1

1