Who was the biggest winner from Colts OTAs and minicamp?
By Jerry Trotta
The Indianapolis Colts are officially in summer vacation mode. With mandatory minicamp concluding on Thursday, players, coaches and trainers will go their separate ways before reuniting in late July for training camp.
What organized team activities and minicamp lack in intensity they make up for in providing clarity to roster battles and highlighting which players have momentum on their side in terms of making the roster. On the flip side, however, these practices give insight into players who have an uphill climb to make the team.
But what about players who are already cemented as starters or key role players? What do they have to gain from OTAs and minicamp? With an extremely deep roster, there was no shortage of Colts players who entered summer break as big-time winners from spring practices.
Between Nyheim Hines, Bobby Okereke, Parris Campbell and rookie safety Nick Cross, it’s tough to say who emerged as the Colts’ biggest winner. If we had to pick somebody, though, we’d give the cake to cornerback Isaiah Rodgers.
Colts DB Isaiah Rodgers is poised for a breakout year in 2022.
Rodgers was all the rage throughout OTAs and minicamp. After earning the most playing time of his career in 2021, Rodgers continued to showcase his elite ball skills and ability to change direction on a dime to keep up with Indy’s receivers. As a result, the young DB proved to be a headache for Matt Ryan by breaking up passes left and right.
The competition between Rodgers and veteran Brandon Facyson is shaping up to be the most compelling roster battle in training camp, and it’s fair to say Rodgers has the inside track after his sublime OTAs and minicamp.
Following the departures of Xavier Rhodes and Rock Ya-Sin, who was surprisingly offloaded in the trade for Yannick Ngakoue, there’s a path for Rodgers to claim the starting spot opposite free-agent pickup Stephon Gilmore.
In 2021, Rodgers posted 49 tackles, seven passes defended, three interceptions and a 71.0 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus that ranked second on the defense behind Ya-Sin for players who logged at least 500 snaps.
A natural playmaker, Rodgers’ role in Matt Eberflus’ defense increased as we got deeper into the season last year. In fact, the 2020 sixth-round pick played nearly 80% of the snaps over the final three games.
If he continues this level of play into training camp, he could be in for that big of a workload on a permanent basis in Gus Bradley’s defense.