Heading into the 2020 season, the Colts are adjusting to the new normal with COVID-19 spreading like wildfire in the United States. With no preseason games, these players will have a hard time making the team without any preseason games.
The Colts went 7-9 last year, after winning a few key games along the way. However, with Philip Rivers under center and Michael Pittman Jr. in the WR corps, expectations are far higher for 2020.
With optimization in mind, the team has already made its first cuts, and with the COVID-19 deadline now in the past, players can no longer opt out for the 2020 season under the NFLPA and NFL agreement. The Colts have three players who have opted out already:
- Cornerback Marvell Tell III
- Linebacker Skai Moore
- Safety Rolan Milligan
This week, the Colts released several players, and added a few to the PUP list, too. Those waived are:
- Wide Receiver Rodney Adams
- Tackle Cedrick Lang
- Cornerback Picasso Nelson Jr.
- Tackle Travis Vornkahl
- Linebacker Brandon Wellington
- Tight End Matt Lengel
Those added to the PUP list are:
- Wide Receiver T.Y. Hilton
- Safety Julian Blackman
- Tight End Mo Alie-Cox
- Defensive End Kemoko Turay
- Defensive End Jegs Jegede
But, even as the roster is trimmed, there are still plenty of players left battling who will come up short, unable to prove themselves without game action. Here are a few players who will have a hard time making the roster in 2020.
The first two players are both rookie tight ends. Ian Bunting, a young tight end out of California, and Farrod Green out of Mississippi State. Currently, the Colts have five tight ends, and both of these men are undrafted free agents. Last season, the Colts went into the season with three tight ends, and that seemed to be enough for them. Jack Doyle is the guy on the top of the depth chart currently, and with the Colts signing Trey Burton from Chicago, the Colts will more than likely go into the season with Burton, Doyle, and Alie-Cox.
In the backfield, young running back Bruce Anderson III will also be impacted by the roster crunch. Anderson is a second-year player who was on the practice squad last year for the Colts. However, the Colts backfield is stacked this year with Nyheim Hines, Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack, and Jordan Wilkins. It’s hard to see the Colts go into the season with more than four running backs. I see Mack and Hines getting the majority of the snaps, but I also see Taylor making a splash in the passing game and getting some screens thrown his way.
The fourth player who will have a hard time making the team is rookie defensive end Kameron Cline. Cline is an undrafted free agent out of South Dakota. The front seven for the defensive line and linebackers is going to be a tough group to crack, since most of the players are returning from 2019. The addition of DeForest Buckner will also bump the existing D-Liners down a peg.
I expect most of the players from last year will make the team over some unproven individuals, and the lack of preseason games will only hurt the undrafted rookies.