Colts Roster: Predicting the Final 53


Tonight, the Indianapolis Colts will play something that almost resembles a football game against the Bengals. Most of the starters won’t play and it is a last ditch effort for players to make the final 53-man roster.

With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at the potential makeup of the Colts roster heading into the season.

(* Denotes rookie)


Starter: Andrew Luck

Backup: Matt Hasselbeck

No surprises here. Move along.

Running Back

Starter: Frank Gore

Backup: Dan Herron

Depth: Josh Robinson*

I can’t imagine Vick Ballard making the final roster. As much as I want him to, he just can’t manage to stay healthy. He’s had two sore hamstrings and we haven’t even seen what kind of player he is after an ACL and Achilles injury. There simply isn’t enough there to justify keeping him.

The Colts usually take four running backs, but given the talent at receiver, and some of the depth options on the defensive line and at cornerback the team goes with three running backs. I’d expect them to stash Zurlon Tipton or Tyler Varga on the practice squad.

Wide Receiver

Starters: Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton

Backups: Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett*

Depth: Duron Carter*, Griff Whalen

I see the Colts taking six receivers into the season, especially with some of the minor injuries this unit has suffered (Hilton and Johnson have both missed games in recent years with hamstring injuries). There is also a lot of talent at the position. The Colts will leave Vincent Brown and Quan Bray off the roster, but both have a good shot at practice squad spots if they clear waivers.

Tight End
Starters: Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener

Backup: Jack Doyle

The Colts were hoping Erik Swoope would make the transition from basketball to football, but we haven’t seen it yet. He is another candidate for the practice squad if the team is set on developing him. Stashing him here also helps provide insurance in case Fleener or Allen leave the team in free agency next year.

Offensive Line
Starters: Anthony Castonzo, Lance Louis, Khaled Holmes, Todd Herremans, Jack Mewhort

Backup: Joe Reitz, Jon Harrison, Denzelle Good*, Hugh Thornton, David Arkin

Don’t expect this unit to get much better as the season progresses. The Colts are thin across the board and a bit lacking in talent.

Defensive Line

Starters: Art Jones, Josh Chapman, Kendall Langford

Backups: David Parry*, Henry Anderson*, Montori Hughes, Zach Kerr

For now, this position might be up in the air due to Jones’ injury. The Colts will likely scour the waiver wire for a DT and it could change pretty quickly. But it will depend on if Jones goes on IR or IR/Designated to Return. We do know he needs surgery and will be out for some time.

Both Earl Okine and Kelcy Quarles made a lot of plays in the preseason, but it was generally against third string opponents. One of them could easily find a spot on the practice squad.

Outside Linebacker

Starters: Erik Walden, Trent Cole

Backups: Robert Mathis, Bjoern Werner, Jonathan Newsome

Once Mathis is healthy, I fully expect a liberal rotation between him and Cole (with both on the field in certain situations). The Colts taking five or six outside linebackers largely depends on just where Mathis is in his recovery, something the team is being understandably cautious with. If Mathis is still a few weeks out, I’d see the team keeping Cam Johnson as well.

Inside Linebacker

Starters: D’Qwell Jackson, Jerrell Freeman

Backups: Nate Irving, Toss Up

The fourth spot will likely go to rookie Amarlo Herrera or Junior Sylvestre. Neither one has particularly stood out so it is hard to pick a clear favorite. I would guess Sylvestre, who maybe made one or two more plays than the rookie Herrera. The Colts really need some speed at this position, and I would keep the faster of the two.


Starters: Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, Darius Butler (slot)

Backups: D’Joun Smith*, Jalil Brown, Sheldon Price

Toler’s neck injury bears watching going forward, as Colts fan know how badly those can end. But that shouldn’t impact who does and does not make the final roster.


Starters: Mike Adams, Dwight Lowery

Backups: Clayton Geathers*, Colt Anderson

Expect Geathers to be on the field in special packages (like as a dime linebacker). There is a chance he could push to start as the season progresses too.

Special Teams

Adam Vinatieri, K

Pat McAfee, P

Matt Overton, LS

We’ll keep you up to date as the Colts start making their final round of cuts on Friday.