Indianapolis Colts

Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for Indianapolis Colts

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMay 11, 2014

Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for Indianapolis Colts

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    After months of preparation, the 2014 NFL draft is now over, and the Indianapolis Colts have some new players who will be fighting for roster spots as the offseason continues.

    The Colts brought in a few players through the draft, but they didn't add any help in the secondary. Instead, they brought in offensive lineman Jack Mewhort, receiver Donte Moncrief, defensive end Jonathan Newsome, linebacker Andrew Jackson and offensive tackle Ulrick John.

    Now that the draft is over, let's take a look at the initial depth chart for the Colts. Keep in mind that players will likely be moving up and down in the near future, but this is what the depth chart would look like if the season began today.

Quarterback

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    1. Andrew Luck

    2. Matt Hasselbeck

    3. Chandler Harnish 

    The depth chart at quarterback has remained the same since before last season. Andrew Luck is the obvious starter, and he's looking to have a dominant third year in the league—as long as his weapons can stay healthy.

    Matt Hasselbeck is still the No. 2 guy, but at 38 years old, this is likely going to be his final season. Meanwhile, Chandler Harnish will be looking to make the final 53-man roster as the No. 3 quarterback, and he'll likely be Luck's backup once Hasselbeck calls it quits.

Running Back

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    1. Trent Richardson

    2. Ahmad Bradshaw

    3. Vick Ballard

    4. Chris Rainey

    5. Dan Herron 

    As disappointing as he was in his first season with the Colts, it's unlikely that the team is going to give up on Trent Richardson, especially after trading a first-round pick for him. However, if he can't pick it up and average more than 2.9 yards per carry, the Colts may turn to their backups.

    The two immediate backups to Richardson are returning from season-ending injuries, but both Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard should be getting a few carries each game. Bradshaw will likely be the No. 2 guy due to the fact that he's a more established veteran and isn't coming off a torn ACL, but Ballard could take the No. 2 spot if he's 100 percent healthy heading into training camp.

    After that, both Chris Rainey and Dan Herron will be fighting for roster spots. Rainey has experience returning kicks, and that may be enough to help convince the coaching staff to keep a fourth running back on the final roster.

Fullback

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    1. Stanley Havili 

    Much like last year, expect the Colts to bring in another fullback or two during training camp to help the second- and third-string offenses run plays out of offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's playbook. However, don't expect anyone else besides Stanley Havili to make it through the final cuts.

    Havili's job appears to be secure, although Colts fans are hoping they use the fullback less and focus on finding ways to get their tight ends and receivers on the field as much as possible.

Wide Receiver

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    1. Reggie Wayne

    2. T.Y. Hilton

    3. Hakeem Nicks

    4. Da'Rick Rogers

    5. Donte Moncrief

    6. LaVon Brazill

    7. Griff Whalen 

    The top receivers on the depth chart probably shouldn't be numbered because they'll all get their fair share of playing time, but it's clear that the first three are the starters. Reggie Wayne is returning from a torn ACL, but he should be ready to play once the season begins.

    T.Y. Hilton will be looking to continue to prove he's one of the best receivers in the league, while Hakeem Nicks will be trying to turn things around after not scoring a single touchdown last season with the New York Giants.

    Given the potential he showed at times last season, Da'Rick Rogers will probably be the No. 4 receiver on the depth chart, but don't sleep on Donte Moncrief, the team's third-round selection. He has incredible size at 6'2'' and 221 pounds, but he also has the vertical speed to be a deep threat in Hamilton's offense.

    LaVon Brazill and Griff Whalen have proven themselves at times as well, but this is an incredibly crowded position on the depth chart that could require the Colts to cut one or both of these guys.

Tight End

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    1. Dwayne Allen

    2. Coby Fleener

    3. Weslye Saunders

    4. Jack Doyle 

    The Colts were hoping to run plenty of two-tight end sets last season with their promising players at the position, but Dwayne Allen's season-ending injury forced Hamilton and the entire offense to adjust. As long as they both stay healthy, Fleener and Allen should be one of the best tight end duos in the league this season.

    Weslye Saunders will be the most likely backup, but Jack Doyle will be fighting for the No. 3 spot as well. However, considering how poorly Doyle played when on the field last year, it doesn't seem likely that he'll become the go-to backup behind Fleener and Allen.

Offensive Line

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    Left Tackle

    1. Anthony Castonzo

    2. Jack Breckner

    3. Ulrick John 

    While the offensive line has been shaky over the past few seasons, Anthony Castonzo has been a reliable left tackle for the Colts. He's a more effective run-blocker, but he's done a solid job protecting Luck's blind side. Earlier this offseason, the Colts found a backup to Castonzo in Jack Breckner, a 6'9'', 320-pound giant who's coming out of the Arena Football League and looking to make a name for himself in the NFL.

    But Breckner may not be the No. 2 left tackle by the end of training camp. The Colts used their last selection to bring in Ulrick John out of Georgia State. Don't expect too much from John, but his big frame at 6'8'' and 290 pounds could help him make the transition to the NFL a little easier.

     

    Left Guard

    1. Donald Thomas

    2. Joe Reitz 

    The interior of the offensive line was the Colts' biggest weakness in 2013. Fortunately, the Colts should finally get Donald Thomas for an entire season after signing him last year before he went down with a torn quad in Week 1. In the event Thomas does go down, Joe Reitz will be the likely replacement.

     

    Center

    1. Khaled Holmes

    2. Thomas Austin 

    After Samson Satele was cut, the Colts signed Phil Costa to add some competition at center heading into training camp. Unfortunately, Costa retired shortly after, which means that Khaled Holmes—the team's fourth-round pick from last year's draft—will likely become the new starter. Holmes was often on the inactive list last year despite being healthy, so we'll have to wait and see what he can do.

    If Holmes isn't able to step up, the Colts will have to hope that Thomas Austin is able to help out, or this team could have issues once again in the middle of the offensive line.

     

    Right Guard

    1. Jack Mewhort

    2. Hugh Thornton

    3. Lance Louis

    Without a first-round pick, the Colts used their first selection of the draft in the second round on Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort. Mewhort is an extremely versatile lineman, but his game translates best at offensive guard. It will be a battle in training camp to determine whether Mewhort or Hugh Thornton starts opposite Thomas, but I personally think that the rookie is a better option right now.

    The good news is that regardless of which player starts, they'll at least have another serviceable backup at guard. The Colts also added another backup in Lance Louis this offseason, so they'll at least have some options if players start to go down like they did last year.

     

    Right Tackle

    1. Gosder Cherilus

    2. Xavier Nixon 

    Gosder Cherilus was an expensive addition last offseason, but he was a big lift for the Colts on the right side of the offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), he was the highest-graded player on offense for the Colts in 2013. Xavier Nixon will be Cherilus' backup, but the Colts are hoping that he won't have to see the field too much in 2014.

Defensive Line

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    Defensive End

    1. Cory Redding

    2. Arthur Jones

    3. Cam Johnson 

    Players will be rotated on a consistent basis on the defensive line for the Colts, so don't freak out when you see Arthur Jones as the No. 2 defensive end on here. The former Baltimore Raven was one of the bigger additions by the Colts this offseason, and while he may not start over Redding, he'll get plenty of time on the field to make plays.

    Redding and Jones will switch in and out frequently, but if one of them gets hurt, Cam Johnson will have to step up. The Colts traded for Johnson from the San Francisco 49ers, but we haven't gotten a good look at what he can do.

     

    Nose Tackle

    1. Josh Chapman

    2. Montori Hughes

    Josh Chapman will finally have the opportunity to be the go-to nose tackle for the Colts this season, and fans have been waiting a long time to hear that.  He didn't blow anyone away when he was on the field in 2013, but Chapman was an asset against the run. Montori Hughes will probably be playing behind Chapman, but he hasn't played enough at this point to know how effective he can be at the next level.

     

    Defensive Tackle

    1. Ricky Jean-Francois

    2. Fili Moala

    3. Jeris Pendleton

    With the exception of Redding, Ricky Jean-Francois was arguably the most consistent defensive lineman for the Colts this past season, and he'll be back again this year to try to continue making a positive impact. Fili Moala, one of the few remaining players from the Bill Polian era, will back up Jean-Francois, while Jeris Pendleton will be fighting for a roster spot.

Linebackers

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    Edge-Rusher

    1. Robert Mathis 

    2. Bjoern Werner

    3. Jonathan Newsome

    4. Daniel Adongo

    At 33 years old, Robert Mathis had the best season of his career in 2013, racking up 19.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles. However, the Colts need other options to rush the passer, as no one else had more than 5.5 sacks all year. 

    This will be an important season for Bjoern Werner, who wasn't as effective as a pass-rusher as the Colts were hoping he would be as a rookie, as he put up just 2.5 sacks. If he doesn't turn it around, rookie Jonathan Newsome will have a chance to get on the field to try to prove himself.

    Meanwhile, the Daniel Adongo experiment will continue, as he'll likely make the final roster and play on special teams as he continues to develop into an NFL player.

     

    Inside Linebacker

    1a. D'Qwell Jackson

    1b. Jerrell Freeman

    2a. Josh McNary

    2b. Kelvin Sheppard

    3a. Andrew Jackson

    3b. Mario Harvey

    4a. Scott Lutrus

    4b. Henoc Muamba 

    There are currently a ton of inside linebackers on the roster, but don't expect them all to be there after training camp. The starters are pretty obvious with Jerrell Freeman and the newly acquired D'Qwell Jackson, the former veteran leader of the Cleveland Browns defense over the past few years.

    The rest of the depth chart is pretty much up for grabs, as the rest of the linebackers will have to prove themselves over the next few months to secure their spots on the roster. Kelvin Sheppard was on the field often last year, but he was more of a liability than an asset when he played. Josh McNary didn't play a ton in his first year in Indy, but I felt that he made the most of his opportunities.

    Rookie Andrew Jackson from Western Kentucky will have a chance to prove himself as well. He's a bulky player that isn't afraid to wrap up and make big tackles. He doesn't have top-end speed or instincts, but his build and strength could give him a chance to move up on the depth chart.

    After that, Mario Harvey, Scott Lutrus and Henoc Muamba could all be cut if needed, but one or two of them should be able to stay on the final roster.

     

    Outside Linebacker

    1. Erik Walden

    2. Justin Hickman

    3. Andy Studebaker 

    Erik Walden is still an overpaid player, but he wasn't as bad in 2013 as he was in 2012 with the Green Bay Packers. He still probably shouldn't be the long-term option to set the edge, and the Colts may consider replacing him through the draft in the next year or two. 

    As far as Walden's backups go, Justin Hickman and Andy Studebaker will be competing to be the No. 2 guy on the outside, and right now it's probably up for grabs.

Secondary

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    Cornerback

    1. Vontae Davis

    2. Greg Toler

    3. Darius Butler

    4. Sheldon Price

    5. Josh Gordy

    6. Marcus Burley 

    The Colts were able to get their No. 1 cornerback back this offseason, re-signing Vontae Davis to a four-year deal worth $39 million. Davis should continue to be a reliable corner, but the real question is whether or not Greg Toler will be able to stay healthy. There were concerns about his durability during his time with the Arizona Cardinals, and he missed seven games this past season.

    Toler's health will play a big part in how effective Darius Butler can be next year. While he's a solid corner, Butler thrives playing as a nickel corner against slot receivers instead of playing on the outside. If Toler stays healthy, Butler can continue to thrive in the slot.

    Sheldon Price was an undrafted rookie last season, but he's found a way to stick with the team over the past year. At 6'2'' and 180 pounds, Price's size makes him a very intriguing player, but he will have to prove that he doesn't have to rely on size alone at the next level. 

    Josh Gordy will find a spot on the final roster thanks to his play on special teams, but Marcus Burley likely won't make it all the way through the preseason.

     

    Free Safety

    1. LaRon Landry

    2. Sergio Brown 

    Now that Antoine Bethea is with the 49ers, the Colts are planning to move LaRon Landry to free safety. Landry is known mostly as a heavy hitter, but he wasn't terrible in pass coverage this past season. Landry still struggles to stay healthy throughout an entire season, which means we may see Sergio Brown or someone else when the starting safety can't play.

     

    Strong Safety

    1. Delano Howell

    2. Corey Lynch

    3. Colt Anderson 

    It came as a surprise that the Colts didn't draft a potential starting safety at any point in the draft, considering the need at the position. But it now looks like Delano Howell will be the guy at strong safety, although that may not be a good thing. The Colts don't have much help behind Howell, either, with Corey Lynch and Colt Anderson behind him.

Special Teams

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    Kicker: Adam Vinatieri

    Punter: Pat McAfee

    Long Snapper: Matt Overton 

    The three starters from last year's special teams unit will be back again this season, and there's not much to talk about. Adam Vinatieri is 41 years old, but he had another solid campaign kicking last year and looks like he could play another couple of seasons. Pat McAfee was signed to a long-term deal and should continue to be a strong punter, while Matt Overton will still be the long snapper.

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