Following this year’s NFL Draft Jabaal Sheard Jersey
, the Indianapolis Colts filled a number of roster holes with ten draft selections—both now and for the future. However, there are still a number of positions where..." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteStampede Bluean Indianapolis Colts communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsColtsShopAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Colts StoriesScheduleRosterStatsYahoo Colts NewsYahoo Colts Team PageYahoo Colts ReportYahoo Colts Depth ChartYahoo Colts TransactionsYahoo Colts PhotosShop About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub ✕At What Positions Do the Colts Still Need to Find Long-term Solutions? New,36commentsEDTShareTweetShareShareAt What Positions Do the Colts Still Need to Find Long-term Solutions? Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsFollowing this year’s NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts filled a number of roster holes with ten draft selections—both now and for the future. However, there are still a number of positions where the Colts could still look to find a long-term solution. It doesn’t mean the franchise is in a dire state regarding these positions, but at the same time, it may not be a bad idea for the Colts to contemplate a contingency plan going forward, either. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsEdge:The Colts pass rush should be much improved with the addition of Justin Houston—who had 10.0 sacks last season for the Chiefs defense. Still, the 30 year old is more of a short-term answer than long-term fixture at the position—having signed a 2-year deal with Indianapolis this offseason. The Colts other top edge defender, Jabaal Sheard, also just turned 30. There’s some room for youthful optimism, as 2nd-year pro, Kemoko Turay, could be poised for a breakout season. One of this year’s 2nd round picks, rookie Ben Banogu, could also get some looks along the edge in his ‘hybrid’ linebacker role. However, the Colts still lack that cornerstone, alpha dog pass rusher in his prime that they once had two of (shockingly)—Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, during their “glory days”. Perhaps Turay could become one in time Pierre Desir Color Rush Jersey
, but the Colts could always look to add a blue chip pass rushing prospect into the fold at any time. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsLeft Tackle:This isn’t a knock on Anthony Castonzo at all, as the former 2011 first round pick remains a very good starting left tackle in the NFL. Castonzo started 11 games for the Colts last season, and upon his return in Week 6, the Indy offensive line elevated its play and protection collectively, instantly becoming one of the league’s best units. However, Castonzo turns 31 years old in August, and is in the last year of his contract with a $11.05M cap hit due this season. I imagine Colts general manager Chris Ballard will want to bring Castonzo back—albeit on a short-term deal. To his credit, Castonzo looks like he still has at least 2 productive years of football left in him. Nevertheless, the Colts could begin kicking the tires on his long-term successor as soon as next offseason. It may be a prudent idea to draft a top left tackle prospect early on and allow him to develop behind the veteran for a season or two before Castonzo permanently hands over the reins. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY SportsDefensive Tackle:The Colts may have had a tough decision to make with the 26th overall selection had either Clemson’s Christian Wilkins miraculously slid or even Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons. Instead, both were long gone and the Colts traded down with Washington.As it stands, the Colts have quality short-term depth at defensive tackle this season. However, Margus Hunt turns 32 in July, and Denico Autry turns 29 in the same month. The Colts also have promising 2nd-year pro Tyquan Lewis (who’s expected to kick inside more at defensive tackle with the addition of veteran pass rusher Justin Houston), as well as some other intriguing young defensive tackles such as Grover Stewart and Jihad Ward. That being said, for what the team’s defensive tackle position has in solid veteran production and youthful upside, it could use more dynamic playmakers along the interior.The Colts don’t necessarily have that “game-wrecker”, a guy that opposing teams have to consistently game plan for, or double team against in the interior on Sundays (although Autry, as a Pro Bowl alternate https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Kemoko-Turay-Jersey
, played very well last season). Perhaps next offseason that could change that for the Colts. Jim Brown-USA TODAY SportsTight End:Hear me out. Tight end could very well be the Colts strongest position group next season with two Pro Bowl caliber tight ends, Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle, as well as impressive depth with Mo Alie-Cox and Ross Travis. It could also be a position that a year from now sees a lot of change. Ebron scored a whopping 15 touchdowns last season and is a free agent after the 2019 season. I think the Colts have every intention of re-signing Ebron right now, but if he wants to be paid like Gronk (retired) or Travis Kelce, Indy could balk at the potential price tag. Ebron showed off his athleticism, speed, and coordination on many of his touchdowns last year. However, he also had a few wide open looks that were simply a byproduct of excellent offensive scheming and play-calling by Frank Reich and his coaching staff to free him up.If he has another highly productive season, he deserves to be fairly compensated for it, but I’m just not sure that Ebron should be ranked among the game’s truly elite tight ends just yet. On the other hand, another former Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle only appeared in 6 games last year and is a free agent at season’s end. My expectation is that Doyle will be healthy and have a very productive season for the Colts next year—with Ballard inclined to bring him back on a new team-friendly deal. However, if he has another injury plagued season, it’s not out of the question that the Colts could let him walk—yes, even as productive and beloved of a player as Jack Doyle. If either Ebron or Doyle surprisingly end up out of the picture after 2019, the Colts could be poised to select another tight end early in next year’s draft.Don’t expect it, but don’t be completely shocked either. Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY SportsKicker: The ageless wonder Adam Vinatieri is 46 years old and has shown no signs of slowing down. Seriously, he ages like a fine wine. At this point in time, Vinatieri might kick until he’s 50 (and I’m only half-kidding). Vinatieri converted 23 of 27 field goals last season (85.2%)—having battled through a groin injury. He also made 44 of his 47 extra point attempts (93.6%). Still, father time remains undefeated Anthony Castonzo Jersey
, and Vinatieri is essentially playing on a year-to-year basis with the Colts. He could hang them up as soon as year’s end, as no one really knows for sure—maybe not even Vinatieri at this point. Already the league’s all-time leading scorer, Vinatieri is simply padding his Hall of Fame resume and presumably playing for one more shot at a Super Bowl championship (which he has four of) with the Colts. It’s not a position that the Colts should actively be seeking a replacement for, but if there’s a blue chip kicking prospect like, say, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was in 2006 coming out into the NFL Draft, it may not be a bad idea to heavily consider them. (Although both Vinatieri and even the Baltimore Ravens Justin Tucker were undrafted free agents, so who knows on that theory). Vinatieri’s leadership and consistent production can’t be understated, but then again, the end comes for everyone—and the Colts have to be prepared for a kicking life after him. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsQuarterback:No, Andrew Luck isn’t going anywhere, and Colts fans can safely pencil him in as the starting quarterback for the better part of the next decade. However, his backup Jacoby Brissett is set to become a free agent at season’s end, and I’m guessing will be looking to find a new home where he can at least compete for a starting quarterback job (which won’t happen in Indy). The 26 year old Brissett is one of the top backups in the NFL, and he could honestly be the starting quarterback for at least a few teams in the NFL based on his ability and arm. This isn’t a dire Colts need, but given how valuable the quarterback position is, it could be savvy for the Colts to at least spend a mid-round pick next year on a young quarterback to develop for the next few seasons as Luck’s backup. If an NFL team doesn’t have a capable starting quarterback behind center, they’re generally toast on a week-to-week basis. With Luck’s history of injuries, a long-term quality backup seems like a worthwhile investment for the franchise (and something that the Colts could even flip for draft capital down the road—should they properly develop). There’s hope in 2019 for the Jaguars Ryan Kelly Color Rush Jersey
, Raiders, Giants and other teams who will finish last in the division this year.The Chicago Bears (10-4) already won the NFC North to complete a worst-to-first turnaround, and the Houston Texans (10-4) are on the verge of securing the AFC South to become the second team to do it this season.At least one team has finished in first place in its division the year after finishing last or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons. Since the playoff format was expanded to 12 teams in 1990, at least four teams have reached the postseason each year after not qualifying the previous season.In 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles went from last place to winning a Super Bowl title. The Bears and Texans are hoping to duplicate that feat this year.Here’s a look inside more numbers entering Week 16:COUNTDOWN TO 50: Patrick Mahomes needs five touchdown passes to become the third quarterback to throw for 50 in a season. Peyton Manning had 55 in 2013, breaking Tom Brady’s mark of 50 set in 2007. Manning also threw 49 TDs in 2004, Dan Marino had 48 in 1984 and Drew Brees tossed 46 in 2011.RUNNING RAVENS: Led by quarterback Lamar Jackson and rookie running back Gus Edwards, the Ravens have rushed for at least 190 yards in five consecutive games. Baltimore is the first team since the 1976 Steelers to do so five straight games.MACK ATTACK: Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack joined Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only players in franchise history with multiple games of at least 125 yards rushing yards and two TDs rushing in a season.JULIO’S WAY: Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons is the fifth player with at least three seasons of at least 1,500 yards receiving. Jerry Rice had four. Marvin Harrison, Antonio Brown and Andre Johnson also did it three times.DUAL THREAT: Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey needs nine receptions to break Matt Forte’s (102) record for most catches by a running back in a season.DUAL THREAT II: New York Giants star Saquon Barkley needs seven receptions to break Reggie Bush’s (8
record for most receptions by a rookie back.TIGHT END TAKEDOWN: Kansas City’s Travis Kelce needs 108 yards receiving to break the single-season record for tight ends held by Rob Gronkowski (1,327).TIGHT END TAKEDOWN II: Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz is 10 receptions away from breaking the single-season record for tight ends held by Jason Witten (110).4K CLUB: Brady (3,979) and Rivers (3,951) are close to joining Manning and Brees as the only quarterbacks to throw for 4,000 yards 10 times. Manning did it in 14 seasons. Brees needs 334 yards to reach that number for the 13th time.