Indianapolis Colts: 5 Players Whose Stocks Are on the Rise After OTAs
Even when the NFL isn't on TV every Sunday, things are happening. Throughout the offseason, teams will meet for rookie minicamp, organized team activities (OTAs) and training camp to prepare for the 2014 season.
We'll be tracking all of the latest buzz on the Indianapolis Colts' offseason here at Bleacher Report, and we start this week with updates from rookie minicamp and the first week of OTAs. With a plethora of new faces on both sides of the ball, we'll be taking an especially focused look at those players' transitions.
With that in mind, here are five players whose stocks are rising after the initial activities of the 2014 offseason.
When you make the most standout play of rookie minicamp, your name tends to circulate.
That's exactly what happened with former Jackson State cornerback Qua Cox. An undrafted free agent, Cox isn't the most highly profiled UDFA corner (That would be Loucheiz Purifoy.), but media members noticed him after he grabbed a pick-six against quarterback Seth Lobato.
One play during rookie minicamp doesn't necessarily mean much. But all a UDFA needs to do is get noticed in a positive way, and Cox has done that thus far. Now, it's up to him to carry that into OTAs and training camp.
As one of the more unique stories in the Colts organization, Daniel Adongo is going to attract a little more attention than your average depth linebacker. The former rugby star and native Kenyan is the kind of underdog, diamond-in-the-rough story fans and media love to see succeed.
After seeing the field for just 31 special teams snaps in 2013, Adongo wasn't discussed much directly after the season. But after he arrived to OTAs weighing 282 pounds, up 25 pounds from his original 257, buzz began to circulate, according to George Bremer of The Herald Bulletin:
He's already come a long way for a player who'd never played a snap of American football before last July.
Now he could become an intriguing darkhorse in the race to fill franchise sack-leader Robert Mathis' role for the first four games of the regular season. Mathis has said he sees a little of himself in Adongo, and the second-year defender has been a willing student.
When a player is slotted as a starter at a certain position and that position is not addressed during the NFL draft, said player's stock is probably in pretty good shape.
Regardless of what fans think of Khaled Holmes, it seems that the Colts have faith in the second-year center out of USC. In free agency, the Colts did not go after any of the established veteran centers but signed former Dallas backup Phil Costa. When Costa abruptly retired, the Colts did not replace him with another free agent signing or draft pick.
Holmes, it seems, is here to stay.
"Khaled’s doing a great job," Luck said. "Communication is key, talking and pointing out."
Castonzo was a bit more candid, but he also praised Holmes' communication: "He’s doing well. He’s doing a really good job of making all the calls. I don’t see him much in the one-on-one situations because I’m watching myself on film, to be perfectly honest with you. But as a tackle with the relationship that we have to have, he’s doing a real good job keeping us on the same page.”
With Reggie Wayne returning from injury, T.Y. Hilton exploding during last year's playoffs and a slew of high-ceiling young receivers waiting in the wings, Hakeem Nicks' role in the Colts offense is uncertain.
Nicks, who struggled mightily last season in New York, is a veteran presence with an impressive past, but recent dips in production and a new system could leave him with a disappointing 2014. With so many young receivers looking to develop, it was important for Nicks to come in and set the tone early.
It seems that he's done just that, showing strong chemistry with Andrew Luck and creating some big plays early in OTAs, according to Colts.com's Kevin Bowen. If Nicks can contribute with little adjustment, it will be a huge boost to a receiving corps that lacked veteran dependability last year. If he can create bit plays, that's just a bonus.
Another unique story, former Miami basketball player Erik Swoope is attempting to make the transition to professional football in Indianapolis despite never having played organized football until this point.
Swoope is a developmental prospect, but the question of "How much development?" remains. So far, he's exceeded expectations in Indianapolis, per Marcus Dugan of Colts Authority:
“For a guy that’s never played? I mean, think about it,” the coach began. “To be able to just break a huddle, get in a stance, run the routes that he ran, catch the balls that he caught, I mean, off the charts. Exceeded our expectations way beyond anything that you’d ever imagine for a guy that never played.
“He’s an athlete, we understand. We’ve had athletes come into this league, track guys that run 9.9, 10-flat 100 meters. We know the late Mr. (Al) Davis would bring in those speed guys that couldn’t translate over. But this kid was, he did a great job. If he continues to work, he’s a bright guy, he’s smart, he picks things up, he looks like he’s got great passion for this. Who knows?”
If Swoope does develop, it would give the Colts valuable flexibility in their decision on the future of Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen in coming years. Outside of injury and blazing-fast development this summer, Swoope likely won't contribute in 2014. But his value as a future asset could prove to be the fruit of another one of Ryan Grigson's great finds.