Colts improve roster with some intriguing waiver claims and practice squad signings

After cutting roster down to 53 players, the Indianapolis Colts made several moves on Wednesday, claiming guys off waivers and signing practice squad players.
Indianapolis Colts Training Camp
Indianapolis Colts Training Camp / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

After the initial 53-man roster cuts are made, we already have another edition of the roster, thanks to waiver claims, where teams can pick up players from other team’s camp rosters that were cut on Tuesday. Teams still must be at 53 players, so some that made the initial 53 will not be a part of the team after waiver claims. However, they are free to sign with another team.

Don't expect anything final until next week as their will be more cuts and players coming available that will impact the final Week 1 roster. Let’s look at the claims Indy made and the corresponding moves.

Colts Waiver Claims

Tackle Ryan Hayes

The Miami Dolphins seventh-round pick has been claimed off waivers and will be a key depth piece for Indianapolis. Hayes hits two key points that Chris Ballard looks for in young talent on the offensive line: size and experience. Hayes is 6-foot-7 and weighs 305 pounds.

Ballard loves big-game experience in young players and Hayes has exactly that. He was a three-year starter on the Michigan offensive line that won The Joe Moore Award (top collegiate offensive line) two consecutive years. He played for Jim Harbaugh and showed success in his system that has consistently been an NFL talent factory.

EDGE Isaiah Land

The undrafted free agent out of Florida A&M that initially signed with the Dallas Cowboys doesn’t have a firm position now but based on need for the team and the corresponding move they made, it is assumed that he is will be an edge rusher, especially with the light amount we have currently on the roster. Ballard has never been afraid to take a chance on a freak athlete at any position.

Land did have some eligibility issues at Florida A&M but when he was on the field he delivered. Land won the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS Top Defensive Player) in his junior season when he recorded an incredible 19 sacks. He followed up his senior year with eight sacks. This is a position within the organization that has needed some stability and Land can be a low risk/high reward depth piece.

Guard Josh Sills

The undrafted free agent out of Philadelphia was the final claim made by Indianapolis. Sills has never started an NFL game and has very little in game NFL experience from his time in Philadelphia. This feels like a player that Steichen wants to develop as he comes from his system from his time as the OC in Philadelphia and has familiarity with what he is looking to build in Indianapolis.

Sills did have some off-the-field issues with the Eagles as he was put on the Commissioners Exempt List for some accusations of serious criminal charges, which he was later found not guilty. Hopefully he can make a better impression this time around in Indianapolis.

Colts 90-man roster cut claims

Defensive End Khalid Kareem

An end of last season pickup that ended up staying on through the entire offseason. He showed some promise at camp but wasn’t kept on the initial 53-man roster. Kareem heads to the Chicago Bears, where he will have a new opportunity to flourish under a defensive minded coach with former Colts DC Matt Eberflus.

Cornerback Darius Rush

What could have been for Darius Rush. One of the three DB’s selected by the Colts in the 2023 Draft in April. Fellow draftees JuJu Brents and Jaylon Jones both made the team, but Rush was the odd man out as Tony Brown got the final spot. While it’s rare to see a fifth-round pick get cut before after camp, he did struggle a bit in games, but he did have some injury issues which prevented him from getting important reps. Safe to say, he probably would have been asked to return on the practice squad, but he heads to Kansas City.

Post 53-man roster moves

Defensive Tackle McTelvin Agim and Guard/Tackle Carter O’Donnell

Both guys obviously had a great camp and proved themselves worthy of a roster spot for the initial roster.But as cuts came through on the other teams, these were theNo. 52 and No. 53 guys on the roster. Look for them to get another opportunity here down the road with injuries or ultimately somewhere else in the very near future.

TE Jelani Woods to short term IR

It was puzzling as to why Indianapolis kept five tight ends on the roster, but it became clear on Wednesday. The reports of a serious hamstring injury to Woods were confirmed as he is headed to Injured Reserve with the hopes of him returning. This doesn’t change the direction of this position within the organization. Even with Mo-Alie Cox leading the tight end room, the goal is to keep the youth movement going.

New face on practice squad

The first iteration of the 2023 Practice Squad will have just one new player as all the remainder of the players announced for the practice squad were present at Colts camp this offseason. We have discussed all those names in some form but the new player added to the 17-man squad is Tennessee Titans 2021 sixth-round wide receiver Racey McMath. He is known for his speed and large frame. This gives the Colts five WRs on the practice squad and will allow them all to battle for gameday spots if an injury occurs during the season.