On Monday, the Indianapolis Colts announced a bevy of roster moves.
- Rookie offensive tackle Zach Banner has been signed.
- The team signed wide receiver Al-Damion Riles, offensive tackle Andrew Wylie, offensive guard Blake Muir, cornerback Danté Blackmon and safety Tyson Graham.
- The team waived wide receiver Jerome Lane, offensive guard Christopher Muller, center Austin Blythe and cornerbacks Frankie Williams and Chris Lyles.
Banner was one of the Colts’ three draft picks from the fourth round this April, taken 137th overall. At 6-8 and over 340 pounds, Banner is easily most well known for his size. Though his size and lack of elite quickness scream “guard”, Banner and the Colts have both said that Banner is a tackle. He did play right tackle at USC, after all. Banner joins Quincy Wilson (second round), Nate Hairston and Anthony Walker Jr. (fifth round) as the other Colts 2017 draft picks now under contract.
Muir, Riles, Wylie, Blackmon and Graham were tryout participants at the Colts’ rookie mini-camp this previous weekend.
Muir (6-6, 315), a native Australian, was a rookie in 2016. He spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. He made First Team All-Big 12 at Baylor in 2015.
Riles (5-11, 215) spent his first couple of years at UL-Lafayette as a defensive back before switching to wide receiver. As a receiver, he compiled 140 receptions for 1,560 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Wylie (6-6, 310) is a very experienced player. He started 46 games at Eastern Michigan. He has experience playing all over the offensive line but made Third Team All-MAC as a right tackle in 2016.
Blackmon (5-11, 180) is the first Kennesaw State player to ever sign an NFL contract. In fact, he is the first to even receive a mini-camp invite. He seems to have the type of playmaking ability that the Colts covet. Since 2015, Blackmon has 8 interceptions, 17 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 blocked kick and 1 touchdown.
Graham (6-2, 210) appears to be a homeless man’s Jabrill Peppers. He has experience at receiver while at South Dakota, but he played the later parts of his career at safety and linebacker. For his career, he picked up 233 tackles (7.0 for loss), 3.0 sacks, 5 interceptions, 15 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano’s commented on the tryout players’ chances of making the roster, saying:
“We’ve had 39 or 40 tryout guys out there and there have been some guys who have stood out. That’s what we encouraged them to do from Day 1. Don’t say, ‘Hey I’m here for two and a half days and I’m out of here because I’m a tryout guy.’ That’s the wrong mindset to come in here with. You come in with the mindset that you’re going to compete your tail off and give great effort. Put it all out there and see where the chips fall. We’ve had it happen before and it just may happen again.”
Lane, Muller and Lyles were a few dark horse candidates to make the Colts’ 53-man roster heading into Week 1 of the regular season. Blythe was a seventh-round pick by the Colts in 2016, and he appeared in eight games for the Colts, starting one.
Jake Arthur is the AFC South Division Manager, Indianapolis Colts Team Manager, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter as well as on Facebook. Check out his other work HERE.