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Indianapolis Colts Early August Scouting Report
Chris Rito

Hey there Colts’ fans! The 2022 training camp is over a week old and thankfully there is very little news to report. This early in camp, about the only thing newsworthy is when a starter has a serious injury or there is a significant holdout or arrest issue. And in the case of the Indianapolis Colts, the first week of camp has been pleasingly extremely quiet and without fanfare.


From an injury perspective, the biggest story is probably the continued absence of star LB Shaquille Leonard from action on the practice field. Yes, I did say Shaquille here, as this is actually his given first name, and he has asked that everyone refer to him by it rather than his middle name Darius. Alternatively you can address him to his face as Maniac, which he prefers also, but I don’t recommend trying that…LOL Anyway, his late offseason back surgery has kept him from practicing, but neither he nor the coaching staff seems to be very concerned about him being ready to be his usual self once the regular season commences. I will give everyone the benefit of the doubt at this time, but as a fan I will get considerably more nervous if he is still in street clothes during practice sessions as the final exhibition games get played.


As far as on-the-field injury notes, TE Mo-Alie Cox and CB Stephon Gilmore got tangled up on a pass pattern and both went down in a heap. Gilmore got up and returned to practice without issue, but Alie-Cox had a minor knee injury. He was held out of the remainder of that practice and the next one as a precaution, but it seems as if it was indeed no big deal. Star DT DeForest Buckner started camp with limited activity due to some back issue, but he returned to a full practice late this week and looked to be his usual dominant self. And maybe the biggest injury news thus far is that WR Parris Campbell does not have any injury news !ProBowl OC Ryan Kelly also missed a few snaps in Thursday’s practice with an undisclosed minor injury, but ultimately returned to drills including the 2-minute offense so I presume he is just fine. The only other real absence of any note is for WR Michael Strachan who is on the PUP after undergoing some recent knee surgery. Strachan is a deep sleeper and dynasty stash, but a healthy Campbell and an impactful rookie year from top pick WR Alec Price would render him an NFL and fantasy non-factor in 2022 anyway.


As far as notable play goes, it is becoming more and more apparent that RB Nyheim Hines is going to be a much bigger part of the Colts’ offense than he was in 2021. Look back to 2020 when Hines quietly was the #18 ranked running back in PPR scoring systems, and realize now that his usage is looking to be at that level or higher. One of the highlight reel plays of the week was Hines running a straight go-route when lined up wide, and having him beat a corner for a long TD on a contested catch. If you imagine the team using him like a light version of the Falcons and Cordarelle Patterson last year, then Hines is looking to be a huge draft day steal at his current ADP. He already was being touted as a huge sleeper value pick, and practice weeks with success and usage like this are going to have his ADP rising all summer. Rookie TE Drew Ogletree has looked super in camp and might be moving up a rather lackluster tight grouping, but realistically I do not expect him or any of the tight ends to be a fantasy factor in 2022.


On the defense, the aforementioned Buckner and Gilmore have been looking dominant – especially interesting as it looks like the team may have got a nice value in their acquisition of the veteran Gilmore this spring. The other new addition on the defense, DE Yannick Ngakoue, has also been relentlessly assaulting the offensive backfield. I really like the Colts defense to be a solid fantasy unit again in 2022. All of the attention shunted to Buckner and Ngakoue might just be the elixir that gets second-year pro DE KwityPaye the single-coverage treatment he needs to be a really disruptive force, and a nice bookend to the backside attention opposing teams will have to give the more veteran pass rushers.


Oner special teams comment of note, and one which builds on my suspicions last month….1st year PK Jake verity and his long-distance leg have looked really solid and accurate thus far in camp. I truly believe that the kicking job in Indy is a 50/50 guess right now and that verity could come out of camp with the gig over incumbent PK Rodrigo Blankenship. Hot Rod has been going off the draft boards at a hot clip as the #7-8 kicker according to ADP based solely on the expected usage in this offense. There is no reason to believe that the unheralded Verity couldn’t produce similar opportunity (perhaps more, with a greater chance for long-distance FGs), and thus is a tremendous option for eagle-eyed drafters that see his progress and wait until the last round to draft a kicker. I would not touch Blankenship in a draftmaster league because you could be carrying an unemployed kicker all season! And this is why I never draft a kicker until the last round: this sort of "toss the incumbent to the curb" mindset is far more prevalent at kicker than any other position (and certainly among the fantasy-usable positions), and often happens very late in camp. Keep an eye on this one as it will seriously impact a lot of fantasy teams.


That is all for this week from the Crossroads of America. I will be back in two weeks to see what transpires in the Colts’ first two exhibition matches. Until then, friends….GO HORSE!!!



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