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Indianapolis Colts July Scouting Report
Hey there Coltsâ€™ fans! Still a couple of weeks away from the start of training camp, but I know folks are itching for football info as they prepare for their summer drafts. Here is what is new since my last report.
The roster has undergone minimal changes as only two transactions have been made in the last month after one of the busiest Junes in the entire league. Thye did surprisingly lose young starting S Khari Willis to a stunning retirement, although one could wonder if their efforts to move up and draft S Nick Cross in April was due to them knowing more than was publicly revealed. Willis is stepping away from football to pursue a life in ministry, and even though they have added some great depth in the offseason in the secondary this will still be felt a little bit. The only other addition to the roster was the signing of veteran DE IfeadiOdenigbo who has bounced around through four teams in 5 NFL seasons, having decent seasons in 2019-20 with the Vikings; with the current depth on the defensive line, it will likely take an injury on the line to make the team since the first four end slots are basically locked in. However, he could rotate into one of the backup tackle slots as he did at times for the Vikings, or be a valuable swing rotational player as the teamâ€™s 8th or 9th linemanâ€¦.but certainly not as a viable IDP player worth consideration.
Honestly thebiggest stories for the last month in a quiet summer have been signings that either did not happen or that have yet to happen. All the pundits locally and nationally still wonder why the Colts have not used their available cap space on aimpact player like a veteran receiving presence. There are numerous options that all made senseâ€¦.and basically the Colts have pounced on none of them. Reuniting WR Julio Jones with Matt Ryan makes sense, as would bringing back long-time Colt WR TY Hilton or taking a chance on free agent WR Odell Beckham. They were also rumored to be heavily under consideration for a trade with the Commanders for disgruntled receiver (and Indianapolis native) Terry McLaurin which eventually was discarded when he signed a huge deal with Washington. So all those free agents are still available, and GM Chris Ballard continues to beat the drum that they have a great group of receivers. Nonetheless, there are a lot of snaps and targets unaccounted for from 2021 with the unsigned Hilton, the retired TE Jack Doyle and the Eaglesâ€™ WR Zach Pascal all off the roster as of the moment. Can they really believe that perennial tease WR Parris Campbell will remain healthy? He is a great last-round flyer for your fantasy team (especially in best-ball formats), but I am unconvinced as of this writing. And the tight end corps is athletic but unproven and perhaps inadequate to muster much of a threat down the field or a security blanket underneath. All of this seems to be pointing to me towards a massive role in the passing game for RB Nyheim Hines and an overpaying later in the season for a replacement when Campbell inevitably tears something.
From a fantasy perspective, the other story is the potential battle looming for the kicking position. While a commodity of questionable NFL value, the kicker for this Coltsâ€™ offense is a highly-sought commodity within the fantasy community. Incumbent PK Rodrigo Blakenship is currently listed on all the depth charts as the #1, and would seem to have dodged a bullet when veteran PK Mike Badgley was not resigned in the offseason despite relegating Hot Rod to the bench for the final 12 games of 2021. However, the Colts pounced on rookie PK Jake Verity when he was left unprotected by the Ravens after a tremendous college career and a great preseason; amazingly, Verity was not snatched up by another team last season and then finished the season on injured reserve. The fact that a team with Justin Tucker as kicker kept a rookie on their practice squad all season (even after injured) shows you how good he was last year in camp. And the most important thing is that Verity has a huge leg â€“ the one criticism of Blankenship after two seasons of lackluster performance from long-distance in the pros. With Blankenship consistently being drafted among the top 7 kickers in fantasy drafts this summer, I strongly advise steering clear of him at his current ADP as I believe that Verity has at least a 50/50 shot at winning this job outright. The only thing that honestly could keep Verity out of the top role would be if his December ACL tear is inadequately healed to let him compete.
Aside from thatâ€¦.there is just a lot of anticipation for the start of training camp as the new stud additions on defense and the change under center come together and mesh into the 2022 Colts. I canâ€™t help but think the veteran additions they have made to date far outweigh the losses, so the key as I see it is to remain healthy perhaps moreso than worrying about the cohesion on the roster. I like the defense to be one of the NFLâ€™s better options for fantasy and for the offense to be just as efficient with perhaps some more explosive plays in the passing game in the second half of the season (assuming health). There are also rumblings that OG Quentin Nelson will get his historic contract extension before the season starts, but the Colts tend to keep those things quiet until we hear that they are done, so the news will probably pop up seemingly out of nowhere.
That is all for this month from the Crossroads of America. Iâ€™ll check back in during early August as camp starts to reveal some more details and (hopefully not) any significant injuries or notes of concern. Enjoy!
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