ESPN ranks Colts roster middle of the pack

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The Indianapolis Colts are expecting the moves made this offseason will help them compete for the top spot in the AFC South, an achievement they haven’t earned since 2014.

As training camp is set to begin for the Colts on July 27, ESPN and Pro Football Focus came together to rank each team’s roster while listing their biggest strength, weakness and X-factor going into the 2022 season.

The Colts were ranked 15th overall in terms of their roster, and it’s no surprise that Jonathan Taylor and the rushing attack were featured as the strength of the team.

The Colts were one of two NFL teams that averaged a positive EPA per play in the running game during the 2021 regular season, joining the Eagles. That’s a combination of an impressive run-blocking unit and arguably the league’s top running back entering the 2022 season. Jonathan Taylor’s 1,272 rushing yards after contact last season were more than any other running back in the league had before and after contact. That run game and Indianapolis’ offensive environment as a whole represents a big positive change for Matt Ryan after his past few years in Atlanta.

Taylor should be in for another big season as he looks to capture the league’s rushing title for the second year in a row. His role should remain relatively the same even if the Colts wind up passing a bit more than they did during the second half of the season.

The weakness listed for the Colts has been the same one featured throughout the offseason. A lack of prominent receiving weapons leaves the Colts with several question marks. Relying on rookie Alec Pierce and speedster Parris Campbell brings equal parts upside and risk.

The X-factor listed for the Colts should also come as no surprise. Second-year defensive end Kwity Paye is expected to take a big step forward, and he was featured as the one who could help change the fate of the pass rush.

Kwity Paye missed some time early in his rookie season with a hamstring injury, but he bounced back to show some promise as a pass-rusher with a 71.3 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2021. Paye stands out as a potential breakout candidate entering his second season, particularly given the talent around him on that defensive line with DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart and Yannick Ngakoue.

The Colts will be out to prove to the football world that the late-season collapse at the end of 2021 was a fluke and that the moves made this offseason will lead to a competitive roster in 2022.

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