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INDIANAPOLIS – Less than two weeks remain until the Colts must cut their 90-man roster down to 53.
And just 5 practices and 2 preseason games are left for guys to make a lasting impression on Chris Ballard and his staff.
Below is our latest 53-man roster projection.
The numbers in the parenthesis below indicate how many players are currently on the 90-man roster, how many made the team at that position last year and how many is being projected to make it this year.
Quarterbacks (4/2/2): Jacoby Brissett, Andrew Luck, Phillip Walker, Chad Kelly
Bowen’s Analysis: Okay, so I’m going to initially keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Why? Because I think I can sneak Phillip Walker onto the practice squad, and then promote him to the game day roster, if need be, later in the week. Remember, Chad Kelly is heading for the suspension list for the first two weeks of the season.
Running Backs (7/4/4): Nyheim Hines, Marlon Mack, Aca’Cedric Ware, Charcandrick West, Jordan Wilkins, Jonathan Williams, Marquis Young
Bowen’s Analysis: With the Colts putting D’Onta Foreman on IR to start the week, there’s some other injuries at running back. Now, both Williams and Wilkins are banged up right now, so their injuries could impact some things. But Williams had a strong camp and should make this team. I’m going to put both of them on the team.
Wide Receiver (12/5/5): Deon Cain, Parris Campbell*, Ashton Dulin*, Devin Funchess, Penny Hart*, T.Y. Hilton, Krishawn Hogan, Marcus Johnson, Roger Lewis, Zach Pascal, Chester Rogers, Jordan Veasy
Bowen’s Analysis: Am I a number short at this position group? Maybe. But let’s go with Nyheim Hines taking the role for Zach Pascal at kick returner, and try to get a few of these receivers who had nice months onto the practice squad. It just seems like such a luxury to have 6 wideouts on the 53-man roster, especially when you factor in some injury depth needed at other spots. The Colts really like Pascal though, and might need him early in the season if Campbell’s hamstring injury lingers.
Tight Ends (6/3/4): Mo Alie-Cox, Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Hale Hentges*, Gabe Holmes, Ross Travis
Bowen’s Analysis: The battle for a 4th tight end is back on. I’m a big Ross Travis fan, but he hardly practiced at Training Camp. I still like his potential and think he sneaks onto the team. Hentges looks like a guy you can get to the practice squad. Hentges is known for his blocking though, and that’s something the Colts and Frank Reich could turn to on a weekly basis.
Offensive Linemen (15/10/8): C/G-Josh Andrews, OT-Jackson Barton*, C/G-Evan Boehm, T-Anthony Castonzo, G/T-Le’Raven Clark, G-Jake Eldrenkamp, T-Antonio Garcia, OG-Mark Glowinski, T/G-Joe Haeg, C-Ryan Kelly, G-Quenton Nelson, G/T-Braden Smith, G-Nate Theaker, T-J’Marcus Webb
Bowen’s Analysis: Keeping just 8 offensive linemen on the 53-man roster might make Chris Ballard start to shake. But hear me out on this. You only dress 7 on game day, so why not just keep a couple of OL guys on your practice squad? That’s what I’m going to do with maybe Evan Boehm and/or Jake Eldrenkamp. As far as tackle depth, Antonio Garcia could be back at some point after his 4-game suspension is over.
Defensive Linemen (16/10/10): DT/DE-Denico Autry, DE-Ben Banogu*, DE-Gerri Green*, DE-Obum Gwacham, DT/DE-Margus Hunt, DE-Justin Houston, DT/DE-Tyquan Lewis, DE-Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE-Carroll Phillips, DT-Caraun Reid, DT-Johnny Robinson*, DE-Jabaal Sheard, DT-Sterling Shippy*, DT-Grover Stewart, DE-Kemoko Turay, DT-Jihad Ward
Bowen’s Analysis: It’s really hard to cut this group below 10, especially with the uncertainty regarding the return for Jabaal Sheard. Is Jihad Ward on the bubble? I just can’t see any of the young defensive ends getting cut. Caraun Reid had a nice showing against the Browns.
Linebackers (8/6/6): Matthew Adams, Zaire Franklin, Darius Leonard, Skai Moore, Bobby Okereke*, EJ Speed*, Ahmad Thomas, Anthony Walker
Bowen’s Analysis: This group hasn’t had a lot of debate for me in the offseason. Once E.J. Speed asserted himself, he was a lock to make this team. I assume Zaire Franklin will be a core special teams guy, although he was the first SAM linebacker in the game on Saturday (over Speed) with Matthew Adams sitting out.
Cornerbacks (10/6/6): Jalen Collins, Pierre Desir, Nate Hairston, Isaiah Langley, Chris Milton, Kenny Moore, Shakai Taylor*, Marvell Tell*, Quincy Wilson, Rock Ya-Sin*
Bowen’s Analysis: You can go several routes with cutting the corners down. I think you either keep 5 or 6 on the 53-man roster. Chris Milton is being kept strictly because of his special teams presence. Also, I like the versatility of Nate Hairston. Hopefully you can sneak Marvell Tell to the practice squad. Jalen Collins had a rough camp.
Safeties (8/4/5): Matthias Farley, Clayton Geathers, Malik Hooker, Isaiah Johnson, Rolan Milligan, Kai Nacua, George Odum, Khari Willis*
Bowen’s Analysis: I’m torn on how to handle the 5th safety spot. Farley is a favorite of Chris Ballard and the Colts, but there’s some higher ceiling guys in that safety room. Then on Saturday, we didn’t see Farley get into the game until late in the 3rd quarter, behind Milligan and Derrick Kindred (who was waived on Monday afternoon). So I’m going to go with Milligan on the final roster (for now). Given the health we’ve seen from Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers this offseason, this isn’t a group that absolutely needs 5 safeties, too.
Specialists (4/3/3): K-Cole Hedlund*, LS-Luke Rhodes, P-Rigoberto Sanchez, K-Adam Vinatieri
Bowen’s Analysis: Well, as long as Adam Vinatieri’s knee injury doesn’t linger, this group is pretty easy to cut down. Cole Hedlund, an undrafted free agent, has had a nice camp.