Colts’ pre-draft 53-man roster prediction

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Nick Melillo
·5 min read
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With just three weeks until the start of the 2021 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts look like a strong team built to make a serious playoff run in this upcoming season.

The draft comes with new opportunity, and the infusion of fresh young talent to make every team even stronger. One might ask how do the Colts stack up on paper as of right now after a relatively quiet offseason focused on improving team depth?

It should be noted that a lot of this will change following the draft. The Colts have six picks right now and with undrafted free agents also coming into the picture, the roster will look much different. It will also give us a chance to see just how much has changed following the draft.

Here, we’ll take a look at how the current roster might shake out if rosters needed be cut down to the league-mandated 53 players ahead of the draft:

*denotes a starter*

Quarterback (2)

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Carson Wentz*, Jacob Eason Notable Cuts: Jalen Morton Wentz comes in as the clear number one quarterback with second-year rookie Eason developing as his backup. Morton seems the likely practice squad quarterback option.

Running Back (4)

AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

Jonathan Taylor*, Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins Notable Cuts: Paul Perkins Not much change here other than Taylor breaking out as a rookie, and is the favorite to start. You can fully expect a healthy share of snaps for Mack and Hines as well in a three-headed rushing attack this season.

Wide Receiver (6)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

T.Y. Hilton*, Michael Pittman Jr.*, Zach Pascal*, Parris Campbell, Dezmon Patmon, DeMichael Harris Notable Cuts: Ashton Dulin, J.J. Nelson With T.Y. Hilton coming back to Indy, much to the glee of fans, this position also doesn't change a ton from last season with solid depth throughout. One hope is that Parris Campbell can have a healthy season to really show the speed and big play ability he was drafted for. The development of big bodied outside targets Pittman and Patmon will be another thing to monitor in 2021.

Tight End (3)

AP Photo/Ben Margot

Jack Doyle*, Mo Alie-Cox, Noah Togiai Notable Cuts: Farrod Green, Andrew Vollert While the Colts are rumored to be looking for another play-making option at this spot, the talent already on the roster is solid. Mo Alie-Cox is a threat catching the ball as a massive mismatch against most defenders, and Doyle brings great blocking for the running game and is a solid receiving option in his own right.

Offensive Line (10)

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Sam Tevi*, Quenton Nelson*, Ryan Kelly*, Chris Reed*, Braden Smith*, Will Holden, Danny Pinter, Joey Hunt, Mark Glowinski, Julién Davenport Notable Cuts: Jake Eldrenkamp, Carter O'Donnell I actually have two new starters on one of the top offensive lines in the league. Newcomers Sam Tevi starting at left tackle and Chris Reed beating out veteran guard Mark Glowinski for the right guard starting spot. the depth added here this offseason will make for some very hard-fought and interesting roster spot battles to watch.

Defensive Line (10)

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

Al-Quadin Muhammad*, Grover Stewart*, DeForest Buckner*, Kemoko Turay* Isaac Rochell, Taylor Stallworth, Rob Windsor, Tyquan Lewis, Ben Banogu, Andrew Brown Notable Cuts: Kameron Cline Starting positions will be up for grabs at the defensive end spots as well. I have Muhammad starting on the left side based on solid past production and consistency off the edge. The right side, or more speed rush position, I have fourth-year pass rusher Kemoko Turay winning that spot, and hopefully having a solid comeback year of terrorizing quarterbacks for the Colts. The interior stays the same with Buckner and Stewart being fantastic against the run, and providing interior pressure and sacks in the passing game as well.

Linebackers (6)

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Darius Leonard*, Bobby Okereke*, Zaire Franklin*, E.J. Speed, Skai Moore, Jordan Glasgow Notable Cuts: Matthew Adams All-Pro Leonard, and Okereke are clear starting options who will play most downs. Franklin is the SAM starter as a bigger experienced option who can play all three spots, also as a valued captain on special teams which is critical play for making the roster. I have Skai Moore making the roster over Adams based on experience at the MIKE spot which will be needed after the departure of Anthony Walker Jr.

Cornerbacks (5)

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Kenny Moore II*, Xavier Rhodes*, Marvell Tell III*, Rock Ya-Sin, Isaiah Rodgers Notable Cuts: Andre Chachere With the return of Rhodes after a stellar 2020 season, as well as third-year corner Tell III returning from the COVID opt-out list this looks to be another deep position for Indy this upcoming season. I have Tell III beating out struggling former starter Ya-Sin for the outside spot across from Rhodes. Top corner Kenny Moore II continues as one of, if not the best nickel corner in the league, with fantastic play all across the secondary and even as a pass rusher at times.

Safeties (4)

AP Photo/AJ Mast

Julian Blackmon*, Khari Willis*, George Odum, Sean Davis Notable Cuts: Rolan Milligan, Ibraheim Campbell The young duo of Blackmon and Willis shined for the Colts in 2021, and one would look for those two to only grow and improve as starters on the back end in 2021. Odum brings All-Pro special teams play as a gunner and the ability to play both safety spots. new addition Davis also brings experience at both safety spots and will most likely also help out on special teams.

Specialists (3)

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship Punter Rigoberto Sanchez Notable Cuts: Austin Rehkow Long Snapper Luke Rhodes The trio of Blankenship, Sanchez, and Rhodes will most likely remain together for this season as well which should make Colts fans very happy. Hopefully, this stays a fully healthy group after Sanchez's cancer scare with a tumor removal, which he bravely dealt with, somehow managing to return to play in the same season.

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