For an NFL coaching staff, starting the week with a roster of 90 players and having to cut it down to 53 by the end of the week is a tall task. The Colts have great depth which will leave some good players on the outside looking in. Here is what I believe the roster will be to begin the 2013 regular season.
Each head coach in the NFL would likely tell you this week is one of, if not the hardest weeks to be a head coach in the NFL each year. Teams were required to get their rosters down to 75 players from 90 players by 4:00pm EST today, August 27th. The players the Colts waived or designated to certain reserve or injury lists to get to 75 are as follows: Johnny Adams, John Boyett, Allen Chapman, Danous Estenor, Kellen Heard, Brandon McManus, Josh McNary, Davin Meggett, Nathan Palmer, C.O. Prime, Rick Schmeig, Lawrence Sidbury, Ashante Williams, Maurice Williams and Teddy Williams.
Next, all teams have to trim their rosters down to a final tally of 53 players by this Saturday, August 31st. One thing the Colts have done this offseason is create tremendous quality depth at several positions. Like Coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this week, that competition and impending cuts means there are going to be some good football players let go.
Taking that into account, here is what I think the Colts’ final, 53-man roster will look like after Saturday’s deadline.
On offense, I have the Colts sticking with their familiar group of offensive linemen, with the exception of newcomers Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes. With the struggles this group has faced in the past year, they will need to keep around the players that they already feel are good “depth” guys. Andrew Luck's health is too important to gamble on some of the current younger players.
Quarterback – Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck
Running Back – Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, Donald Brown, Kerwynn Williams
H-Back – Stanley Havili
Wide Receiver – Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Griff Whalen
Wide Receiver – Darrius Heyward-Bey, LaVon Brazill
Tight End – Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Justice Cunningham
Left Tackle – Anthony Castonzo, Bradley Sowell
Left Guard – Donald Thomas, Joe Reitz
Center – Samson Satele, Khaled Holmes
Right Guard – Mike McGlynn, Hugh Thornton
Right Tackle – Gosder Cherilus, Jeff Linkenbach
On defense, there are some more tough decisions to make. Many defenders have impressed in the preseason and training camp, but still won't be able to make it due to various reasons.
On this projection, players like Ricardo Mathews and Martin Tevaseu do not make it. Mathews is a great option, but it is a toss-up between him and Drake Nevis. With the coaching staff likely looking to keep Fili Moala around, one of them may find themselves on the outside looking in. Don’t be surprised to see a trade pop up, however. These players are young and have plenty to give, so the front office may not want to give them up so easily.
Left Defensive End – Cory Redding, Drake Nevis
Nose Tackle – Aubrayo Franklin, Josh Chapman
Right Defensive Tackle – Ricky Jean-Francois, Fili Moala, Montori Hughes
Left Outside Linebacker – Erik Walden
Left Inside Linebacker – Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, Kelvin Sheppard
Right Inside Linebacker – Jerrell Freeman, Mario Harvey
Right Outside Linebacker – Robert Mathis, Bjoern Werner, Caesar Rayford
Left Cornerback – Greg Toler, Cassius Vaughn
Free Safety – Antoine Bethea, Joe Lefeged
Strong Safety – LaRon Landry, Delano Howell
Right Cornerback – Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, Marshay Green
There is no question Adam Vinatieri, Pat McAfee and Matt Overton are the kicker, punter and long snapper, respectively for this squad. Kerwynn Williams and T.Y. Hilton appear to be the front runners for the kick and punt return duties, as well.
Kick Returner – Kerwynn Williams, Cassius Vaughn
Punt Returner – T.Y, Hilton, Kerwynn Williams
Kicker – Adam Vinatieri
Holder – Pat McAfee
Punter – Pat McAfee
Long Snapper – Matt Overton
Photos courtesy of Indy Star