We want nothing more than to speak glowingly about the Indianapolis Colts, but that simply isn’t possible right now.
After getting manhandled by Seattle in Week 1, the Colts face an even more daunting test at home in Week 2 when they welcome the Rams, who thrashed the Bears in primetime, to Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday.
The bad news for the Colts? Well, several key starters — including Darius Leonard, Quenton Nelson, Xavier Rhodes, Braden Smith and Kwity Paye — didn’t practice on Thursday and appear genuinely questionable for Sunday.
As if the vibe surrounding Indy wasn’t already bleak enough, they announced the release fifth-round pick Shawn Davis on Thursday.
This is a tough look for GM Chris Ballard, who was already taking heat for his overall approach to the 2021 draft.
The Colts releasing rookie safety Shawn Davis raises more questions about their 2021 draft.
It goes without saying that Paye doesn’t belong in this conversation. The Colts first-round pick showed out during training camp and the preseason and was one of the highest-graded rookie performers from Week 1. Beyond that selection, however, fans in Indy have every right to to question Ballard’s strategy.
Second-round pick Dayo Odeyingbo has all kinds of potential, but nobody knows how he’s going to look after he tore his Achilles while training for the Senior Bowl. In the best-case scenario, Odeyingbo will return in the second half of the season and serve as a rotational piece along the defensive line.
Given Ballard’s track record in terms of whiffing on second-round pass rushers, fans understandably have reservations about Odeyingbo.
Third-rounder Kylen Granson, meanwhile, failed to beat out Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox for the starting tight end job. Though he flashed during training camp, Granson seems destined to be a backup for at least his rookie season.
We won’t include seventh-round wideout Mike Strachan in this conversation, either, as he looks to be an immediate impact player for the Colts — especially on third down –even if his snaps are limited as a rookie.
And finally, we get to Davis and seventh-round offensive lineman Will Fries, who was inactive for Sunday’s season-opener. The worst part about Davis getting cut is that he was lucky to even last this long.
After a nightmare performance in the preseason finale, it was widely speculated that his time with the Colts was over. However, he was cut and signed back to the practice squad before officially getting released on Thursday.
We know Ballard made most of these picks with the future in mind, but it doesn’t look great that maybe just two of his 2021 picks (Paye and Strachan) will end up being difference-makers in Year 1 … or at all.
That’s unacceptable for a GM with his drafting background.