2018 Indianapolis Colts Depth Chart
|Quarterback||Andrew Luck||Jacoby Brissett|
|Running Back||Marlon Mack||Jordan Wilkins||Nyheim Hines|
|Left Wide Receiver||TY Hilton||Chester Rogers|
|Right Wide Receiver||Ryan Grant||Zach Pascal||Marcus Johnson|
|Tight End||Eric Ebron||Clive Walford|
|Left Tackle||Anthony Castonzo||Le'Raven Clark||J'Marcus Webb|
|Left Guard||Quinton Nelson||Mark Glowinski|
|Center||Ryan Kelly||Joe Haeg|
|Right Guard||Braden Smith||Josh Andrews|
|Right Tackle||Denzelle Good||Joe Haeg|
After a few Luck-less seasons in the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts finally return their franchise quarterback. Andrew Luck spent the last two years watching the competition from the sidelines. While the signal caller never lost grips or hope within the organization, his voice can only bring so much advice into the minds of the on-field players. This two-year hiatus represented a huge learning curve for the team. They experienced what it was like to lose, something the organization was not accustomed to. During Luck’s time off, the AFC South grew in terms of competition level. The Jaguars became the team to beat with the Titans and Texans both producing playoff-caliber squads. While Luck’s return is more than welcomed, it does come at a time where an uphill battle becomes par for the course on the 2018-19 season.
The Colts lost a lot of talent to free-agency, something that is difficult for any team to bounce back from. Amongst the list of 10 players the team let go, the most notable were: Frank Gore, Donte Moncrief, Kamar Aiken, Jon Bostic, Darius Butler, and Barkevious Mingo. While the wide receivers are replaceable, the loss of veteran Frank Gore hurts the most. Gore was that pound-the-rock talent that is hard to come by. His consistent production will not be easily replaced. The defense also depleted much of the line backers rostered, which is difficult for any team to move forward from.
The team then turned to the draft to rebuild upon some of their cuts. The draft class the Colts comprised was picturesque for a franchise looking to protect their top talent. Quenton Nelson was selected with the 6th overall pick. He will be slotted at one of the inside guard positions. Nelson shows impressive speed from stance to transitional play, placing him within lead-blocker status. The team selected their second guard in the 2nd round in Braden Smith. While Smith will have to earn his starting position, he will create depth at the offensive line position. Anthony Castonzo has Luck’s blind side protected, while Austin Howard keeps the opposing attack at bay. The line also received a boost with the signing of Matt Slauson, completing the transitional shift to better protection and sound play. This line combination is looking bright for Andrew Luck to work behind, a protection team that he hasn’t been afforded in quite some time.
The draft was also used to build the linebacker core back to a level of competent strength. Linebacker Darius Leonard will be transitioned into a starting role. He will work opposite side free-agent signing, Najee Goode. This duo looks to revamp the look this defensive can bring the opposition. The defense is boosted in terms of speed and agility, affording them notions of new looks and differing sets. The rest of the draft was round-out by offensive talent grabs. Most of the picks will be utilized as sheer depth considerations with the potential to make a name for themselves over the course of upcoming years. The Colts did draft day right and filled all the necessary voids that required attention. This helped boost the morale of the team heading into camp.
The team now looks to find its way via the prospect of many new coaches and coordinators. Being forced into a new system of learning requires an immense attention to detail. While many of these players have spent time within the league, a lot of their development while be shaped by their ability to adapt to new changes. While any sort of extensions to the win column will present improvements for this team, this is not something they will hang their hats on. The team has the tangibles within the offensive line to provide ample protection. Andrew Luck’s weapons increased via the draft and free-agent signings. Eric Ebron came over from the Lions and he will play an instrumental role as a reliable target for Luck to locate his game with. Luck can make connections with any offensive talent, so the skill set possessed doesn’t have to be jaw-dropping. The running back position will have to fight the tide and utilize their speed to reach the secondary. The backfield lost a major contributor this season, so it is now time for the younger talents to blossom within a new offense. It won’t be easy for a Colts team given the strength of the division, but they should easily make strides upon last year’s short-comings.