After making the playoffs every year since they drafted Andrew Luck in 2012, the Indianapolis Colts suffered a setback last season when Luck got injured and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012. While the Colts and their fans were disappointed about the outcome of the season, they were able to get a high draft pick out of it, which could have a significant impact on the team’s success this season. With a healthy Luck back in the lineup, the Colts are one of the NFL expert picks to make the playoffs.
After two weeks of training camps here is how the 2016 Colts draft class has progressed.
Ryan Kelly, the team’s first-round pick, was selected to anchor the offensive line, which has been one of the team’s biggest problems since Luck was drafted. Kelly has been the team’s starter during training camp and is expected to start the season opener, however, a left shoulder strain has kept him out of practice for about a week.
Safety T.J. Green, the team’s second-round pick, is also expected to play a big role this season. Green has been practicing with the first unit in place of Clayton Geathers, who is battling a foot injury, and could earn the starting job if he performs well during the preseason. However, if Green reinjures his calf and is forced to miss some time, Geathers can reclaim the starting job from the rookie.
LeRaven Clark is another offensive lineman the Colts drafted to address their offensive line woes. Clark was penciled to be the team’s starting right tackle in their preseason game against the Packers, but the game was canceled because of the field conditions. The team will likely start him in their next preseason game and if he plays well, he could end up being the opening day starter.
Hassan Ridgeway, the team’s fourth-round pick, wasn’t expected to start this season. But, injuries to Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson, in addition to the suspension of Art Jones, have opened a door for the possibility of Ridgeway starting. The defensive tackle is currently backing up starter Zach Kerr, but that might change depending on how he performs in the preseason.
Antonio Morrison is making the best of the opportunities he has been given during training camp, and has performed so well that the team released inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera this week. With Herrera gone, Morrison is all but guaranteed a roster spot for the season.
Chuck Pagano is very excited about what he has seen from Joe Haeg so far because he played tackle in college and is expected to play guard with the Colts. The transition can be difficult for a lot of players, but Pagano said Haeg’s transition was very quick and feels the rookie can help the team for years due to his ability to play multiple positions on the offensive line.
As a product of the University of Maine, not much was expected from linebacker Trevor Bates, but he has since changed the perception with his performance on the field. Bates is a favorite of several veterans and has worked his way up to backup strong-side linebacker.
Austin Blythe is the team’s seventh-round pick, but will have a hard time getting on the field as a center because the team already drafted Ryan Kelly in the first round. Barring an injury, Blythe’s best option to make the team will be to switch positions.