This season is a throwaway. Coming into the year I had high hopes, I thought Luck might miss a game or two but he would definitely play, I thought the OL would play more like they did by the end of last season instead they've regressed big time and of course the coaching is still abysmal. Who would have thought that the D would be the most exciting thing about Indy this year. Now the Colts are and forever will be my team, but now this year win and losses basically don't mean shit. It's about identifying the players the Colts will need to keep for next year and where they need to find someone new. I'm going to look at each position group and tell you where I think we're good for 2018 and where Chris Ballard is going to have to do some digging. Lucky for the Colts they are going to have a fuck load of cap space and some high picks. Ballard will have all the ammunition he needs in 2018 to bring the Colts back to glory, he just better not fuck it up!
QB: Obviously this depends on how Luck can rehab his shoulder and how/when he returns next year. If he comes back like I hope and like he has before he's a top 5 QB in the league. But for once if he can't the Colts actually have a backup plan! If the worst should happen and Luck is forced to miss another year, Brissett will have had basically a full season and off-season as "The Guy" and he's already shown he can keep us competitive while being thrust into the job a week after landing in Indy. So this spot should be good to go for next year no need to make any moves.
RB: Ballard is going to have to do some work here. Gore has had a great, maybe HOF, career but 2017 will be the last year as the lead back for a team and may be his last altogether. Marlon Mack so far has shown glimpses in his rookie year but not enough to say, "he's our #1 going forward". He has great speed and can take any touch to the house, but he also bounces it too often and needs to improve in pass pro (like most rookies). Unless in the last 5 games the Colts give Mack more touches and he really shows off with them I think the Colts will have to look for another mid round back to be part of a rotation next year. Some guys I like in the draft are Bryce Love, Royce Freeman or Jaylen Samuels in Rds 3-4. Pairing any of those guys with Mack would give the Colts a strong 1-2 punch. If the Colts go the FA route for a RB to pair with Mack then I think someone like Thomas Rawls or Carlos Hyde would be a good compliment.
TE: Not much needs to be said here, Doyle has been great this year and was just resigned this off season. A second TE will probably be added in FA to compete with Swoope in camp for the 2nd spot.
WR: This is a group that is definitely going to need some work through FA and/or the draft next year. T.Y is our #1 and has been very good this year, the thing about him though is he's a high risk high reward WR. 2014 was the only season he caught at least 60% of his targets, so far in 2017 he's only caught 51%. So because of this he needs to be targeted allot. This year he's had 3 games over 150 yards but hasn't broke 60 in any other. Some of that is because him and Briss seemingly haven't always been on the same page. But it's mostly because he's not getting thrown at. Last year in over half of the games T.Y got at least 10 targets, that hasn't happened once this season. 3 times he's been targeted 9 times and..... you guessed it those were when he went over 150 yards, shocking I know. With T.Y being a "go big or go broke WR" the Colts #2 guy needs to be steady and reliable. Coming into the year I was hoping Monqueef would finally live up to his potential and be that guy, but that has not happened. After 2015 I thought Donte would take the next step and him and T.Y would be like Reggie and Marvin once were. Then he got a pass last year for being hurt and at least being a redzone monster, 7 TDs in 9 games. But he's been brutal this year, he's getting no separation, dropping passes and not scoring TDs. Unless he will take a dirt cheap 1 year prove it deal in the off-season, then you can kiss his ass goodbye! Kamar Aiken was added on a 1 year deal this year but he's been atrocious, 14 catches in 10 games 7 where he started! So he's not coming back. Chester Rogers started the year hurt but now that he's healthy and getting worked into the offence I think he can step in and be a good slot #3 receiver. So between Hilton and Rogers and Doyle at TE I think the Colts could use another WR to help either Luck or Briss next year, but it won't be something they need to invest heavily in. If the Colts want to add someone via the draft some targets I like are Equanimeous St. Brown, if he slides to Rd 3 because ND just doesn't throw, David Sills in Rd 4-5 or Antonio Callaway after the 4th, if Ballard thinks he can keep his nose clean. I doubt Ballard will use any high picks on WR unless the value is just too good. I bet he picks up another WR on a similar cheap deal to what he gave Aiken last year. Some potential FAs to keep an eye on are Dontelle Inman, Micheal Floyd, Jordan Matthews or if they wanted to splurge some Jarvis Landry would do wonders for the Colts quick passing game.
OL: It would be an understatement to say that the OL has been bad this year, it's been retched. Now saying that it hasn't been all bad. Castonzo has been stellar, even though Colts fans love to rag on him, Haeg has been decent at "Reitz" like RT and Good has played good when he's been healthy. So the OT spots aren't as defunct as you might think on the team with the most sacked QB again. And I don't think OT will be a major concern in the off-season. It's the inside of the line that's killed the offence this year and injuries have made it even worse. Mewhort is a good guard, when he's healthy, so it's too bad his knees work as good as my 60+ year old uncle's. This will be the 2nd year in a row he's landed on IR because of his knees and his contract is coming up. So similar to Monqueef's situation unless Mewhort takes a cheap 1 year prove it deal, say goodbye! Hopefully they can pull something like that together because otherwise they are going to need to find 2 new guards. Even when Jack was playing the Colts needed another guard, because Jeremy Vujnovich makes the baby Jesus cry with how bad he is and Le'Raven Clark can't beat him out. Then at center Ryan Kelly hasn't played well this year but he has been very beat up and we all saw how good he was last year as a rookie so i'll give him a pass. With all that said I'm looking at Ballard to invest heavily in the draft and FA at the guard position and maybe a backup swing tackle. In the draft, I've mentioned Quenton Nelson is my other posts as someone I would be happy with picking up. Nelson has been one of if not the best player in college football regardless of position. Some sites and scouts have compared Nelson to Logan Mankins and David Decastro as prospects. So while where the Colts end up picking in Rd. 1 might be a little rich for a guard, Nelson is the rare prospect that's worth it. If they don't get a chance or pass on Nelson then either Billy Price or Will Hernandez in Rd 2 would be my main targets. As far as upcoming FAs there are a few who I think would be well worth the investment if they hit the open market. My dream scenario would be to sign one of Andrew Norwell or Josh Kline and trade down just slightly in Rd 1 to draft Nelson and have a pretty good looking OL. Castonzo-Norwell-Kelly-Nelson-Good/Haeg would have me feeling pretty good.
So going into next year on offence I would say QB,TE,OT and C are good, a new LG and RG are needed and another RB and WR could be added.