Indianapolis Colts July Scouting Report
Hey there Colts’ fans! As we are on the eve on training camp, here are my current thoughts and observations from the Corral:
After an uncharacteristically busy spring and summer, the month of July has been a very slow one around the Colts’ Complex. The only change to the roster was the expected release of WR Trey Griffey, son of Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey was released from IR, and had little chance of making the team anyway, so this is no surprise; were he not related to his father, no one would have noticed his signing or his release.
Of course, the only significant question is still the return timetable of QB Andrew Luck, since the team’s fortunes are inextricably tied to his. Although he is still not throwing officially – causing more dismay and fear for the blue nation daily – I have to believe that there is a positive outlook on the horizon. With a number of veteran signal callers still on the waiver wire, one would have to think that a Jay Cutler or Colin Kaepernick would be in for a looksie if there was any chance that Luck may not be ready in time. A report did surface on the local sports talk show that an unofficial source had Luck missing a couple of games to start the season, but I have a hard time making that fit with the rest of the inactivity by the front office. I recommend fostering that rumor in your fantasy league so that Luck drops a round or two to you in your draft LOL I think a bigger concern for me is the nature of the backup situation. QB Scott Tolzien is listed as the #2 and QB Stephen Morris is the #3 as of the moment. If Luck were to miss time, it would almost assuredly be because the line left him unprotected and he got hit hard. So…putting a less mobile guy like Tolzien in behind an obviously inadequate line seems poor; perhaps Morris or a more mobile free agent quarterback should be on the roster for such an occasion.
In addition to the quarterback issue (okay….the Luck issue), there are a lot of guys in key positions and contract years on the roster. First among those is WR Donte Moncrief who was productive on a per game basis but can’t seem to stay on the field. Behind him in the depth chart is WR Philip Dorsett who has vastly underachieved his first round draft status and could be pushed off the roster by WR Chester Rogers and newly-signed free agent WR Kamar Aiken. On the other side of the ball, many of the new guys have low-cost ways out of the contract, so a poor performance could render them unemployed as well, thus serving as motivation for the young veteran players. Chief among those is speedy S TJ Green who also has failed to live up to expectations, and perhaps in a disappointing sign, he did not get first team reps in minicamps despite projected starters S Malik Hooker and S Clayton Geathers being sidelined.
I will be more comfortable when I see the offensive line ambiguities settled by a few guys stepping up and earning the starting role (rather than by default), and some clarity on the defensive starters and key backups. There are so many new guys there that daily competition should mean that continuity and familiarity will be far greater concerns than are effort and talent.
I have seen a lot of power rankings, etc. in the last few weeks, and all of them have the Colts rated among the worst teams in the NFL. While I am not making Superbowl travel plans yet, I think the rumors of their total demise are greatly exaggerated. They were a mediocre team last year and made a ton of moves on paper which have improved their roster – especially the defense. Nonetheless, power ratings have them floating around 25th in the NFL and projections for the defense are all in the bottom handful of teams. If you read my premium article next week in the draft guide (on low-cost fantasy defenses) or just stick around this report in the upcoming weeks, you will know that I am more bullish on the Colts’ defense for fantasy than that. Again…they won’t be a world-beater, but their personnel additions and schedule make them an appealing value selection at the end of your draft.
A few fantasy tips to give you value on Colt players in your upcoming fantasy auctions and drafts: WR TY Hilton should have a better season, but Moncrief should give you better return on investment by taking him 5 rounds or so later. The seemingly immortal RB Frank Gore is also being drafted far below his likely value, although I like versatile rookie RB Marlon Mack as his handcuff moreso than RB Robert Turbin. TE Jack Doyle is being drafted outside the top 10-12 tight ends, but should perform like a low end starter; OC Rob Chudzinski has been known for using the tight end a lot, Doyle got a ton of targets last year and TE Dwayne Allen is gone. Luck has elite fantasy upside, but early drafters need to be aware of a potential slow start or (lesser concern) a delayed return to the lineup. And as I said, the defense is worth a last round flier for those using streaming options or looking for low rent district options at that position.
That is all for this month from the Crossroads of America. I will be back in August as the preseason games start top look ta the current status of the Colts at that time. Until then folks, remember to stay….COLTSTRONG!!!
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