[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.
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.
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