Colts’ final 53-man roster, practice squad projection

·7 min read

The Indianapolis Colts have until Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET to cut the roster from 80 to 53 players.

The roster will change throughout the season and even more likely the day after these cuts are made due to the waiver claim period. But the initial 53-man roster will lay the foundation for what the Colts want for the regular season.

Some roster cuts will be strategic. The Colts may keep a player on the initial 53-man roster so they don’t have to subject them to waivers right away. This would be in the hope that they can sneak that player onto the practice squad later after other teams have already made their moves.

There will be some surprises along the way, and we’ll keep you updated with each move leading up to the deadline with our roster cuts tracker.

But without further ado, here’s our final 53-man roster and practice squad prediction for the Colts:

Quarterback (3)

AP Photo/Doug McSchooler

1. Matt Ryan
2. Nick Foles
3. Sam Ehlinger

Right off the bat, we have a quandary. Ryan and Foles are the quarterbacks ahead of Ehlinger. The Colts could easily get by only keeping the two veterans on the roster. I don’t like the idea of keeping three quarterbacks. It simply seems like a wasted spot. But Ehlinger was undoubtedly the MVP of the preseason. The big question is whether the Colts will risk losing him to waivers on cutdown day or try to sneak him on the practice squad later when other teams have already made their claims. For now, we’ll go with the latter scenario.

Notable Cuts: Jack Coan

Running Back (4)

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

1. Jonathan Taylor
2. Nyheim Hines
3. Phillip Lindsay
4. Deon Jackson

It’s likely the Colts are going to keep four running backs on the roster. Lindsay has proven himself to be the RB3 in the room but because he doesn’t contribute on special teams, the Colts need a fourth. That’s where Jackson comes in. The second-year back probably did enough to keep the spot over Ty’Son Williams and undrafted rookie D’vonte Price.

Notable Cuts: Ty’Son Williams, D’vonte Price

Wide Receiver (6)

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

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

Even after all of training camp and three preseason game, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the final wide receivers will be. Patmon seemingly did enough to hold the fifth spot in the room after recording 153 receiving yards across the final two preseason games. Meanwhile, Coutee proved he has special teams value as a punt returner, and that’s why he gets the edge over Mike Strachan. Losing Strachan to waivers will be a risk the Colts will have to take because he still doesn’t seem ready for a bigger role.

Notable Cuts: Mike Strachan, Ethan Fernea

Tight End (3)

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

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

This room is as straightforward as it gets. They would have kept four until rookie Andrew Ogletree tore his ACL during training camp.

Notable Cuts: N/A

Offensive Line (8)

AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

1. Matt Pryor
2. Quenton Nelson

3. Ryan Kelly
4. Danny Pinter
5. Braden Smith
6. Bernhard Raimann
7. Will Fries
8. Dennis Kelly

I’ll start by saying that eight offensive linemen is too few for Chris Ballard. The Colts will wind up adding to this group either through waiver claims or a trade. There just doesn’t seem to be any reason to keep the other depth pieces like Ryan Van Demark or Wesley French on the 53-man roster. Both could very well end up on the practice squad, but there’s still far too much development that needs to take place. It would be wiser to add a veteran.

Notable Cuts: Ryan Van Demark, Wesley French, Jordan Murray

Defensive Line (10)

AP Photo/Doug McSchooler

1. Yannick Ngakoue
2. Kwity Paye
3. DeForest Buckner
4. Grover Stewart
5. Tyquan Lewis
6. Dayo Odeyinbgo
7. Ben Banogu
8. Eric Johnson II
9. Curtis Brooks
10. Chris Williams

The defensive line is another group that could look very different than our projection. The biggest omission here is defenisve end Ifeadi Odenigbo, who had a strong preseason for the Colts. But it simply comes down to a numbers game. Maybe the Colts try to sneak one of the depth defensive tackles on the practice squad and keep Odenigbo on the roster, but they could have seen enough from Banogu and Lewis to feel comfortable about the depth on the edge.

Notable Cuts: Ifeadi Odenigbo, R.J McIntosh, Byron Cowart

Linebacker (6)

AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

1. Shaquille Leonard
2. Bobby Okereke
3. Zaire Franklin
4. E.J. Speed
5. Sterling Weatherford
6. Jojo Domann

I feel pretty confident about this group. The final two spots in the room are the ones in question, but Weatherford and Domann present the right mixture of defensive upside and special teams capabilities to round out the room. Fellow undrafted rookies James Skalski and Forrest Rhyne should wind up on the practice squad while veteran Brandon King didn’t really do much to truly earn a spot.

Notable Cuts: Brandon King, Forrest Rhyne, James Skalski

Cornerback (6)

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

I don’t think the Colts have enough depth to get away with keeping just five cornerbacks, but we’ll see. Brown is pretty locked in as the fifth cornerback it seems while that sixth and final spot could go to a few players. We roll with Chesley here after a solid preseason showing.

Notable Cuts: Marvell Tell III, Chris Wilcox, Dallis Flowers

Safety (4)

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

1. Julian Blackmon
2. Nick Cross
3. Rodney McLeod
4. Rodney Thomas II

Following the news that Armani Watts will miss the rest of the season due to an ankle injury, the rookie in Thomas gets a chance to make the 53-man roster. He showed enough during the preseason that he can be a back-end depth piece. A name to keep an eye on here is Trevor Denbow. If the Colts only go with five cornerbacks (even though I don’t think they should), Denbow would be the replacement.

Specialists

AP Photo/Doug McSchooler

1. Rodrigo Blankenship
2. Matt Haack
3. Luke Rhodes

Haack seems like a viable replacement for Rigoberto Sanchez.

Review

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Offense (24)

Pos

First

Second

Third

Fourth

QB

Matt Ryan

Nick Foles

Sam Ehlinger

RB

Jonathan Taylor

Nyheim Hines

Phillip Lindsay

Deon Jackson

WR

Michael Pittman Jr.

Alec Pierce

Dezmon Patmon

WR

Parris Campbell

Ashton Dulin

Keke Coutee

TE

Mo Alie-Cox

Kylen Granson

Jelani Woods

LT

Matt Pryor

Bernhard Raimann

LG

Quenton Nelson

Will Fries

C

Ryan Kelly

RG

Danny Pinter

RT

Braden Smith

Dennis Kelly

Defense (26)

Pos.

First

Second

Third

DE

Yannick Ngakoue

Ben Banogu

DT

DeForest Buckner

Dayo Odeyinbgo

Curtis Brooks

DT

Grover Stewart

Chris Williams

Eric Johnson II

DE

Kwity Paye

Tyquan Lewis

LB

Shaquille Leonard

Zaire Franklin

Sterling Weatherford

LB

Bobby Okereke

E.J. Speed

Jojo Domann

CB

Stephon Gilmore

Brandon Facyson

Tony Brown

CB

Kenny Moore II

Isaiah Rodgers

Anthony Chesley

FS

Julian Blackmon

Rodney McLeod

SS

Nick Cross

Rodney Thomas II

Specialists (3)

Pos.

Player

K

Rodrigo Blankenship

P

Matt Haack

LS

Luke Rhodes

 

Practice Squad

Here is a prediction of the practice squad for the Colts based on our 53-man roster:

RB D’vonte Price

RB C.J. Verdell

WR Mike Strachan

 WR Ethan Fernea

 WR Samson Nacua

 TE Nikola Kalinic

 TE Michael Jacobson

 OT Ryan Van Demark

 G Wesley French

 DE Kameron Cline

 DT R.J. McIntosh

 LB James Skalski

 LB Forrest Rhyne

 CB Marvell Tell III

 CB Dallis Flowers

 S Trevor Denbow

 

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire