Indianapolis Colts Roster Outlook: March
NFL free agency is not even a week old and yet the Indianapolis Colts’ roster has already changed quite a bit. Below are not only moves made in the last week but since the 2016 season ended (excluding futures deals):
Additions: RB Robert Turbin*, WR Kamar Aiken, TE Jack Doyle*, TE Brandon Williams, OL Brian Schwenke, OL Fahn Cooper, NT Al Woods, DL Margus Hunt, OLB Jabaal Sheard, OLB John Simon, OLB Barkevious Mingo, ILB Sean Spence, S Darius Butler*, P Jeff Locke
Departures: RB Jordan Todman, TE Dwayne Allen, OL Joe Reitz, OL Jonotthan Harrison, OG Hugh Thornton, DL Zach Kerr, OLB Robert Mathis, OLB Erik Walden, OLB Trent Cole, OLB Chris Carter, ILB D’Qwell Jackson, ILB Josh McNary, CB Patrick Robinson, S Mike Adams
The Colts are also in the running for a couple of other defensive free agents, nose tackle Dontari Poe and inside linebacker Kevin Minter. For the purpose of evaluating where the Colts roster currently stands and where they still might go this offseason, let’s take a look at their lineup:
Quarterback: Andrew Luck, Scott Tolzien, Stephen Morris
Running Back: Frank Gore, Robert Turbin, Josh Ferguson
Wide Receiver: TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, Kamar Aiken, Chester Rogers, Devin Street, Quan Bray, Tevaun Smith, Marcus Leak
Tight End: Jack Doyle, Erik Swoope, Brandon Williams,
Offensive Tackle: Anthony Castonzo, Le’Raven Clark, Denzelle Good, Jeremy Vujnovich, Fahn Cooper, Isiah Cage
Offensive Guard: Jack Mewhort, Joe Haeg, Adam Redmond
Center: Ryan Kelly, Brian Schwenke, Austin Blythe
The No. 10-ranked offense wasn’t much of a concern entering the offseason, and that remains the case. Starting running back Frank Gore will be 34 years old this season, entering the final year of his contract. The Colts should look to draft a back to take over as the lead dog once Gore is finished. They made a good move in re-signing Robert Turbin, but he is not likely the long-term answer.
Many people will tell you that the Colts still need to load up on offensive linemen to protect Andrew Luck. After allowing 128 QB hits and 44 sacks in 2016, it definitely seems that way. However, don’t forget that the Colts drafted four linemen last year. Joe Haeg and Le’Raven Clark look primed to start in 2017 at right guard and tackle, respectively. The Colts missed out on top right guard talent in Kevin Zeitler, T.J. Lang and Larry Warford, so I don’t feel they need to continue the search for a starter. If it’s not going to be a top-end player like the aforementioned, then just let Haeg handle it.
At tight end, the Colts did trade away Dwayne Allen after re-signing Jack Doyle. They will need to pick up another tight end to go with Doyle and Erik Swoope. It would preferably be someone who holds the role of a TE3 but is capable of stepping in as a TE2 if anything happens to Doyle or Swoope. As good as it can be before any of them take the field, this is one of the best tight end draft classes that we have seen.
Defensive End/Tackle: Kendall Langford, Henry Anderson, Art Jones, Hassan Ridgeway, T.Y. McGill, Margus Hunt, Kristjan Sokoli
Nose Tackle: David Parry, Al Woods
Outside Linebacker: Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Akeem Ayers, Barkevious Mingo, Curt Maggitt, Lavar Edwards, Deiontrez Mount, Alex Bazzie
Inside Linebacker: Edwin Jackson, Antonio Morrison, Sean Spence, Deon King, Luke Rhodes
Cornerback: Vontae Davis, Rashaan Melvin, Charles James II, Darryl Morris, Frankie Williams, Christopher Milton, Tevin Mitchel, Larry Scott
Safety: Clayton Geathers, T.J. Green, Duke Williams, Matthias Farley, Stefan McClure, Andrew Williamson, Lee Hightower
The defense is still in worse shape than the offense. Their 30th-ranked unit critically needs pass-rushers after failing to generate pressure consistently. Though Chris Ballard has added several in Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Barkevious Mingo and Margus Hunt (five-tech). Mingo and Hunt have failed to produce in their previous stops, so the Colts do still need help. If they can find a premium pass-rusher in the draft, it would be a huge plus.
The Colts also need some added quality depth on the line. Art Jones may be on the outs come June 1, and David Parry may be out as well once his legal issues are finished. Zach Kerr was also not brought back in free agency. The Colts still need a few quality linemen, but they did sign free agent nose tackle Al Woods.
There are still concerns in the secondary as well. Rashaan Melvin may not be the starter opposite Vontae Davis at corner in Week 1. The Colts need to add a couple cornerbacks, likely in the draft. Both of them need to be able to contribute right away, and one needs to be able to play a heavy role. T.J. Green may not be ready to be the regular starter at free safety next to strong safety Clayton Geathers. The best option here is likely to bring back Darius Butler.
SPECIAL TEAMS (4)
Placekicker: Adam Vinatieri, Devon Bell
Punter: Jeff Locke
Long Snapper: Matt Overton
Holder: Jeff Locke
Kickoff Specialist: Jeff Locke/Devon Bell
Kickoff Returner: Quan Bray, Josh Ferguson
Punt Returner: Chester Rogers, Quan Bray
The Colts are fine at kicker, long snapper and in the return game, but I am not sold on the addition of Jeff Locke. He was never more than an average punter in Minnesota and he hardly has a history as a kickoff specialist. He already has enormous shoes to fill with Pat McAfee’s departure, but as long as he can not be a weak link, special teams should be adequate.
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.