INDIANAPOLIS – It’s quite possible that none of the 90 guys on the Colts roster will have a spring offseason program including on-field activities.
Chances to move up, or down, the depth chart might not get the opportunity this spring to leave a first-hand impression on the coaching staff.
If players don’t get that chance this spring, then they will have to enter training camp and make the most out of those practices and the preseason to position themselves on the depth chart.
For now, what does a guess at the Colts depth chart look like?
OFFENSIVE DEPTH CHART
Quarterbacks: Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Jacob Eason*, Chad Kelly
Bowen’s Analysis: Chris Ballard didn’t mince words in stating what this depth chart looks like right now. We will give the early nod to Eason, over Kelly, as the No. 3 QB. You get zero impression that the Colts want to move on from Brissett this offseason.
Running Backs: Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor*, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Darius Jackson, Bruce Anderson III,
Bowen’s Analysis: We should put an ‘or’ in between Mack and Taylor. The reigning 1,000-yard rusher should get the first look with the starting offense though this offseason, but this is a definite starting combination, with these guys potentially switching series throughout a game.
Fullback: Roosevelt Nix
Bowen’s Analysis: It still feels a little weird to write ‘fullback’ on the depth chart. But it’s here for the first time since Stanley Havili in 2014. And Nix is much more of a true blocking fullback than the versatile Havili.
Wide Receiver: T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, Marcus Johnson, Ashton Dulin, DeMichael Harris*, Artavis Scott
Bowen’s Analysis: With Chester Rogers gone, Campbell is going to be the team’s slot wideout in 2020, as long as his health cooperates.
Wide Receiver: Michael Pittman*, Zach Pascal, Reece Fountain, Dezmon Patmon*, Chad Williams, Rodney Adams, Malik Henry
Bowen’s Analysis: When you draft a player at No. 34, it’s not premature to place him atop the depth chart, especially when he’s such a different body type from the others at this position. Fountain will have a lot of eyes on him as he tries to get back from a devastating ankle injury.
Tight End: Trey Burton, Ian Bunting, Xavier Grimble, Farrod Green*,
Bowen’s Analysis: This is a group that doesn’t have as much obvious depth as it did in previous offseasons.
Tight End: Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, Matt Lengel
Bowen’s Analysis: Alie-Cox enters a critical third NFL season for his impact, and pending future in the NFL.
Left Tackle: Anthony Castonzo, Le’Raven Clark, Brandon Hitner, Cedrick Lang
Bowen’s Analysis: Clark was an unquestioned winner from the offseason, with the Colts not making any notable moves for an outside offensive tackle.
Left Guard: Quenton Nelson, Jake Eldrenkamp
Bowen’s Analysis: The staff remains high on Eldrenkamp, who was actually called up to the 53-man roster late last season.
Center: Ryan Kelly, Javon Patterson
Bowen’s Analysis: Patterson, a 2019 seventh-round pick, tore his ACL last April. His best position at this level is believed to be center.
Right Guard: Mark Glowinski, Danny Pinter*, Chaz Green
Bowen’s Analysis: Given Pinter’s proposed versatility in the interior, the Colts see him as a center or guard at the next level. That will be key when cutting this roster down. It’s probably too early to have Pinter in any sort of 2020 starting competition with Mark Glowinski.
Right Tackle: Braden Smith, Andrew Donnal, Carter O’Donnell*, Travis Vornkhal
Bowen’s Analysis: FWIW, the 28-year-old Donnal has played in 31 career games (12 starts, none since 2016). Given the lack of definite answers behind the starters at offensive tackle, O’Donnell is an undrafted free agent who might challenge for a roster spot.
DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART
Left Defensive End: Denico Autry, Kemoko Turay, Gerri Green, Kendall Coleman*
Bowen’s Analysis: The loss of Jabaal Sheard has opened up a starting job opposite Justin Houston. There’s no obvious choice to fill that job, so we’ll go with the versatile Denico Autry playing out there on the early downs, before the speedy Kemoko Turay takes over when pass rush opportunities arise.
Defensive Tackle: DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day, Tyquan Lewis, Kameron Cline*
Bowen’s Analysis: What a difference a year makes in how the three-technique looks for the Colts. This is some solid depth, with high-end quality.
Nose Tackle: Grover Stewart, Rob Windsor*, Chris Williams*
Bowen’s Analysis: Let’s place the 290-pound Rob Windsor here, because it probably offers him a better chance at making the roster as a backup to Grover Stewart, versus the crowdedness behind Buckner. It will be interesting to see how the roster cut numbers look at defensive tackle.
Right Defensive End: Justin Houston, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Ben Banogu, Jegs Jegede
Bowen’s Analysis: Muhammad is often the forgotten name when talking about the young defensive ends. An emergence from Banogu would be huge as the 31-year-old Houston plays in a contract year.
WILL Linebacker: Darius Leonard, EJ Speed, Jordan Glasgow*, Brandon Wellington*
Bowen’s Analysis: Three former draft picks at the WILL linebacker position.
MIKE Linebacker: Anthony Walker, Skai Moore, Zaire Franklin
Bowen’s Analysis: Do we see a starting battle here between Anthony Walker and Bobby Okereke? Remember, Walker was the team’s leading tackler last season and now enters the final year of his rookie contract.
SAM Linebacker: Bobby Okereke, Matthew Adams
Bowen’s Analysis: With how much Okereke came on late last season, the Colts played more base defense because they wanted to get the Stanford product on the field more.
Cornerback: Kenny Moore, T.J. Carrie, Isaiah Rodgers, Picasso Nelson Jr., Lafayette Pitts
Bowen’s Analysis: In the base defense, Moore still looks like a guy that is too darn reliable to take off the field, even as an outside corner. Carrie (6-0, 204) and Rodgers (5-10, 170) are vastly different body types, so a potential battle between them for the backup nickel spot could be fun to watch.
Cornerback: Rock Ya-Sin, Xavier Rhodes, Marvell Tell, Jackson Porter, Travis Reed*
Bowen’s Analysis: We will give the starting base defense nod to Ya-Sin after the very underwhelming 2019 campaign for Rhodes. But the trio of Ya-Sin, Rhodes and Tell do have some nice length and potential.
Strong Safety: Khari Willis, George Odum, Donald Rutledge*
Bowen’s Analysis: Willis is a second-year player this staff absolutely loves. It’s quite possible that Odum will be the 3rd safety and play a lot in sub packages.
Free Safety: Malik Hooker, Julian Blackmon*, Rolan Milligan
Bowen’s Analysis: Obviously this is a ‘when healthy’ projection for Blackmon. The Colts see free safety as the first (and best?) position for the versatile Utah rookie.
Specialists: K-Chase McLaughlin, LS-Luke Rhodes, P-Rigoberto Sanchez, K-Rodrigo Blankenship*,
Bowen’s Analysis: The NFL kicking experience for McLaughlin (18-of-23 on field goals, 26-of-26 on extra points) last season gives him the slight nod over Blankenship, the Lou Groza Award winner last year.
Kick Return: Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal, Isaiah Rodgers
Bowen’s Analysis: If the Colts view the offensive role for Campbell too big, they might go a different route at the kick return spot. This is where Rodgers could make the team.
Punt Return: Nyheim Hines, Zach Pascal, Isaiah Rodgers
Bowen’s Analysis: After what Hines showed in closing out last season, he has to be the favorite at punt returner. If the Colts are going to use Jonathan Taylor at all on 3rd down, Hines carving out more of a return presence is going to be needed.