2014 Depth Chart: Indianapolis Colts

A look at the depth and quality of each position on the roster for the 2014 Indianapolis Colts.

| 3 years ago

2014 Depth Chart: Indianapolis Colts

 2014 depth update IND

[chart last updated 7/4/14] 


•  “…but what about Andrew Luck’s game-on-the-line heroics!” I hear you cry — well, for as good as Luck is when the chips are down, he’s still been far too inconsistent for us to have him any higher. His ceiling is obviously very high, but he needs to cut down on the mistakes to become a top-tier quarterback in the NFL.

•  Are we being generous to Trent Richardson? Perhaps. Though there is no denying his physical attributes, as evidenced by his ability to juke away from would-be tacklers, at times you wonder about his ability to adjust when the play breaks down. Far too often he seems to make the wrong cut and wind up gaining minimal yardage.

•  Though they only have Josh Chapman with experience at nose tackle currently, they do have a nice trio of defensive ends in Cory Redding, Ricky Jean-Francois and new addition Arthur Jones. That should allow for a decent rotations and should limit snaps to the likes of Fili Moala who aren’t as impressive.

•  Vontae Davis may have been tied for third in our cornerback grading ranking last year, but that still doesn’t mean that he is a High Quality Starter. That’s because the vast majority of his high grade came from one incredible outing against the Denver Broncos, with the rest of his season not being anything special.

Roster Battles

1.  Interior Offensive Line

The Colts struggled on the interior of their offensive line last year and opted to move on from Samson Satele in the offseason. That leaves a hole at center and, while Satele had struggled in recent years, we haven’t seen enough of Khaled Holmes to judge how he’ll be as a replacement. We’re expecting Donald Thomas to win the starting left guard job based on his past production, which would see Hugh Thornton start on the right but the wild card is rookie Jack Mewhort who, after drafting in the second round, the Colts expect to compete for a job somewhere along the interior.

2.  Edge Rusher

Despite Robert Mathis being an elite player, the Colts have plenty of questions on the edge of their front seven heading into 2014. Mathis himself will miss the first four games of the season through suspension, and other than him they really lack much edge rushing presence. Erik Walden has yet to justify what they paid him last offseason, while second year man Bjoern Werner  generated very little in limited duty in his rookie season. What’s clear is that someone has to step up here, or the Colts will struggle defensively, especially in the first quarter of the season.

3.  Free Safety

Though Antoine Bethea wasn’t a great player himself, he wasn’t terrible and his departure leaves the Colts with some uncertainty at the position heading into the new campaign. The early favorite for the job appears to be Delano Howell, but he played just 212 snaps last season after not featuring at all on defense as an undrafted rookie in 2012. Behind him you have Colt Anderson and Sergio Brown, with neither giving you much reason to feel inspired that they’ll win the job themselves.


Click here to see all of the depth charts we’ve covered.


Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • SuperRaider

    Not so exciting defense. Can’t win playoff games with a defense like that. Should’ve gotten some safety help in the offseason

    • Blace

      Jerrell Freeman has improved every year and should be at least light green. Dqwell should be yellow too. No way he is below average. I also agree with the person above that they are being harsh on Toler. The defensive line looks to have good depth and I like the linebacking minus Walden once Mathis comes back. The back end needs help though. Especially if Howell or someone else struggles at safety.

      • DawgPound

        D’Qwell has been worse than below average these last couple of years for the browns.

        He just has name recognition cause of Madden giving him high ratings every year.

  • Andreas Haakshorst

    I find the designation of Greg Toler as below average a little harsh. Ok, he did not play well last season, but he was battling a groin injury all year long. And if I rember correctly you guys quite liked him that last year in Arizona. So I’m a little curious: what makes him below average?

    • Gordon McGuinness

      It’s possibly slightly harsh. His +8.8 coverage grade from 2012 with Arizona essentially came from three games though so I’d like to see him play like that again, and more consistently, before moving him up.

  • Yonatan

    Im a bit surprised how Dwayne Allen is considered as a high quality player after a pretty good rookie season but no playing time in his second season due to injury. In comparison to GB’s Hayward who was statistically the best Slotcorner in his rookieyear and is now considered a good player I believe this judgement is a bit inconsistent… Or did I miss something?

    • Thomas Holm

      My thoughts exactly! I commented on Heyward in the GB depth chart as well.

      • Gordon McGuinness

        There was a bit of a drop off in Hayward’s play at the end of his rookie year too – Best coverage grade in the 6 games from Week 15 through the playoffs was +0.9. Allen, on the other hand, actually got better as his rookie year went on.

        Make no mistake, I think it’s likely that Hayward gets back to a high level in 2014, but it’s a slightly different situation to Allen.

        • Thomas Holm

          Fair enough. Thanks for the answer Gordon!

  • WebGS

    Gotta love when a Pro Bowl player (Overton) gets categorized as “Poor Quality”! Really solid #analysis, PFF! /s

    • Geoff Sunday

      How about that Green Bay coach who benched their Pro Bowl center 2 years ago? What an idiot, eh?

      • WebGS

        Difference being Saturday was 36 at the time and in his 14th season in the league. He was admittedly having a hit or miss season, but was still known as a legendary center because of his history with the Colts. Overton didn’t have a dodgy season… he was a perfectly effective specialist.

        We all know that the Pro Bowl isn’t the end-all-be-all of determining quality. It’s a popularity contest. For that very reason though, for a LSN to go, you have to have been noticed for a reason. Overton rarely, if ever, makes a mistake… so I still think this is a genuinely stupid rating.

        • Gordon McGuinness

          For what it’s worth: long snappers are chosen by the two Pro Bowl coaches, and at this year’s Pro Bowl Pagano and Rivera picked the opposing coaches long snapper.

          • WebGS

            Huh, that is actually good to know. Thanks for sharing that. I am still simply curious, as a guy who watched every Colts game, what did he lose points for in the analysis? I just don’t recall any errors – at least with regards to his snapping.

          • PFFSamMonson

            We’re also looking at his work on the coverage team. Long snappers aren’t just the guy snapping the ball, they also then form one of the lanes on the punt coverage team.

            Also there is more to long snapping negatives than simply botching a snap. A guy can go a whole season without airmailing one 5 yards over the target, but be consistently off line and require adjustments from the punter or holder. Without digging into a list of negatively graded plays this year we graded every long snap in the league for its accuracy and his was not a great grade, coupled with some missed tackles in the coverage unit.

        • RA

          So then what about wayne at 35 coming of a season ending knee injury being rated as high quality?

  • Chris

    Agree that Luck is inconsistent but if you look just at talent, is Russell Wilson (example) really a more talented player? How many of Luck’s mistakes are due to the pressure of having to carry the load with that offense combined with the fact that their o-line is just bad? I can’t blame PFF for not speculating and trying to adjust for that, but if you ranked current NFL QB’s by talent, I can’t imagine Luck would be lower than 6th or 7th, and I’m not just talking about physical talent.

    • fan1982

      Talent? What is that? You either produce on the field or you dont. Also, this is a stat site. If you want unsubstantiated opinion, you can always listen to Jaws or some other espn clown.

      • Chris

        PFF grades are not stats. Performance on the field can be affected by circumstances and other factors. Football is a team sport. It’s just my opinion that while this site does a great job in many areas, their grades have to be taken with a grain of salt because there’s no way to factor in context, and that’s not really their fault. If Russell Wilson is the 4th best QB in the NFL, why wouldn’t his team ask him to do more, especially in the losses when his pass attempts barely went up. I said all season that Colin Kaepernick’s poor performances were a result of having Kyle Williams (no longer on an NFL roster) as his #2 WR. Of course, from the moment Crabtree came back, his raw numbers and PFF grades were significantly better.

        This is just an example of what I meant with Luck. I don’t expect them to adjust their grades for context, but when categorizing players, talent should be the only thing that matters. Nobody will dispute that Wilson has played better than Luck, but taking circumstances out of the picture, I don’t see how one could say Wilson is more talented.

        • Thomas Holm

          “but when categorizing players, talent should be the only thing that matters”

          I find that to be ridiculous. Ernie Sims is arguably the most talented WLB in the NFL and he is terrible. Peyton Manning isnt the most talented QB in the NFL either. There are so many great NFL players who are not viewed as “talented”.

          PERFORMANCE should be the only thing that matters.

          “If Russell Wilson is the 4th best QB in the NFL, why wouldn’t his team ask him to do more”
          They simply dont have to. They have a winning formula in place and it works for them, so why change it? RW delivers when they ask him to and thats all that matters.

          RW is actually under pressure more often than Luck (43,8% to 37,5% and had better stats under pressure as well). He plays behind a below average Oline at best. The one stat that i think displays the SEA Oline best, is the 75 missed tackles Marshawn Lynch had to force just to get 1262 yards.

          If we remove production and look on talent (god i hate that term) alone, Luck would be the consensus top choice, so i agree with you there.

          Could Luck improve with more help around him? Maybe, maybe not. One of his major problems is decision making (where RW excels) and it will require more than “help” to fix that. Many of his great comeback wins (KC playoff game for example) were comebacks because of the hole he buried them in.

          “Nobody will dispute that Wilson has played better than Luck” Which is exactly why Wilson is rated so much higher than Luck…

          The answer COULD change in the future (I dont think it will), but right now, RW is a MUCH better QB than Luck.

          • pbskids4000

            I think you’re confusing talent with athletic ability. Peyton manning IS the most talented QB even though he doesn’t have a very strong arm. Andrew Luck IS (arguably) more talented because he carries the offense instead of being a piece of it, not because he has a strong arm and is athletic. Production is not a clear cut statistic. It can be weighted depending on the circumstance.

          • craniumuranium84

            RW is a “MUCH” better QB than Luck? Judging by what.. his (team) Superbowl ring? You can make the argument that he’s “better,” and I can make just as strong of an argument that he’s not. Neither one of us can make any valid argument to say that the one is “MUCH” better than the other. So dumb.

        • invisibulman

          “Nobody will dispute that Wilson has played better than Luck…”

          I will dispute that. Luck does more with less. This was a 2 win team when he arrived and the vast majority of the turn around since then can be attributed to Luc. What I won’t dispute is that the Seahawks are far more talented than the Colts.