2022 NFL Offseason: Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts (Last Year: 9-8)

2022 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Matt Ryan, QB Nick Foles, RB Phillip Lindsay, OT Dennis Kelly, DE Yannick Ngakoue, CB Stephon Gilmore, S Rodney McLeod, S Armani Watts.
Early Draft Picks:
WR Alec Pierce, TE Jelani Woods, OT Bernhard Raimann, S Nick Cross, DT Eric Johnson. Colts Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Carson Wentz, RB Marlon Mack, WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Jack Doyle, OT Eric Fisher, OT Sam Tevi, G Mark Glowinski, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, CB Xavier Rhodes, CB Rock Ya-Sin, S Khari Willis.

2022 Indianapolis Colts Offense:
The Colts believed they solved the quarterback conundrum they’ve endured since Andrew Luck’s retirement when they traded first- and second-round picks to the Eagles for Carson Wentz. Instead, they acquired a lemon. Wentz continued his horrid play from 2020, making terrible decisions at the worst times possible. He single-handedly ruined the team’s playoff chances, spoiling what was a brilliant season by Jonathan Taylor.

Wentz was one-and-done in Indianapolis, with the team opting to go with a much older quarterback. The Colts acquired Matt Ryan, who offers less upside than Wentz, but far more stability. Ryan, who turned 37 this offseason, is obviously not the stellar quarterback he once was for Atlanta, but he can be a steady presence for an offense that will continue to rely heavily on Taylor, who rushed for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2021. Taylor was also a significant part of the passing game with 40 receptions. The same can be said of Nyheim Hines, who continues to be a potent receiving threat out of the backfield.

Ryan will have better wide receiver talent at his disposal than what he possessed in Atlanta, following Calvin Ridley’s exodus. Michael Pittman Jr. had a strong sophomore campaign with 88 catches for 1,082 yards. He finished strong, logging six or more receptions in four of his final five games. The Colts also used a second-round pick on Alec Pierce, who could fight for playing time right away. There’s Parris Campbell as well; Campbell is a dynamic threat, but hasn’t been able to stay healthy in his young career. At tight end, Jack Doyle retired, so Mo Alie-Cox will hold down the fort until third-round rookie Jelani Woods is ready to produce. Woods is raw, but possesses immense upside.

Ryan was hurt by poor offensive line play during his final years in Atlanta. He won’t deal with such issues in Indianapolis. The Colts possess three stellar blockers in left guard Quenton Nelson, center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Braden Smith. Nelson and Kelly are coming off down years because they dealt with injuries, but they’re expected to rebound in 2022.

The other two linemen are greater question marks. Matt Pryor will take over at left tackle for the departed Eric Fisher. Pryor handled himself well in a couple of late-season starts, but it’s unclear how he’ll perform as a full-time starter. If he struggles, third-round rookie Bernhard Raimann can step into the role. At right guard, Mark Glowinski signed with the Giants this offseason, so Indianapolis will replace him with Danny Pinter, a recent fifth-round pick who has also shown well in limited action.

2022 Indianapolis Colts Defense:
Considering that the Colts spent three early draft choices on defensive linemen in recent offseasons, they have to be disappointed with the production of their front. The unit finished dead last in pressure rate last year, which was astonishing, given that two of the four members of the defensive line are DeForest Buckner and Kwity Paye. Buckner is a stellar player, but is coming off a down season by his standards. Paye, chosen in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, logged four sacks as a rookie. More was expected from Paye, so perhaps he’ll improve in his second year.

The Colts decided to be proactive once again in improving their pass rush, so they traded starting cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to the Raiders for Yannick Ngakoue. Though Ngakoue tends to get trampled against the run, he’s terrific at generating heat on opposing quarterbacks. Ngakoue will certainly help the Colts’ pass-rushing efforts, though the team will still be hoping that 2021 second-round pick Dayo Odeyingbo develops after struggling as a rookie. Rounding out the front, Grover Stewart will continue to start next to Buckner. Stewart doesn’t get to the quarterback at all, but he’s a tough run stopper.

While the pass rush was set to improve with Ngakoue, it was fair to wonder what would become of the secondary with Ya-Sin gone. The Colts eventually found their answer by signing Stephon Gilmore. The former Patriot performed well with the Panthers last year. He’s 32, so regression is coming soon, but he could still have a year or two of high-level play remaining. Indianapolis also has a talented slot corner in Kenny Moore, but there’s some serious question marks about the No. 2 corner spot. The job could go to Isaiah Rodgers, who had some nice moments last year despite his very small frame (5-10, 170). Brandon Facyson is much larger (6-2, 197), but he was torched mercilessly last year.

There was more clarity with the safeties before Khari Willis announced his retirement. He was expected to start next to Julian Blackmon. Instead, it’ll be Rodney McLeod, who has had trouble staying healthy in recent seasons, missing 20 of 65 possible games since 2018. Third-round rookie Nick Cross will compete with McLeod.

The linebacking corps remains intact, though there is one big issue. The elite Darius Leonard will once again patrol the middle of the field, but he underwent back surgery in June and may not be 100 percent this season. The Colts will be hoping that 2019 third-rounder Bobby Okereke improves after a mediocre 2021 campaign. There’s also Zaire Franklin, but he’s a two-down run specialist.

2022 Indianapolis Colts Schedule and Intangibles:
Adam Vinatieri is no longer kicking for the Colts. His replacement last year was Rodrigo Blankenship, who went 32-of-37 in his first season. He was just 11-of-14 in 2021 because of a hip injury.

Punter Pat McAfee retired to become a sports blogger. The Colts replaced him with Rigoberto Sanchez, who finished in the top five of net punting average last season.

The Colts neither scored nor allowed a touchdown on special teams.

Indianapolis has a mixed schedule. On one hand, it’ll battle the AFC West, Patriots, and Titans twice. On the other hand, the Colts get to navigate through the NFC East, as well as the Texans and Jaguars twice.

2022 Indianapolis Colts Rookies:
Go here for the Colts Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2022 Indianapolis Colts Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2022 Indianapolis Colts Analysis: The balance of power may have shifted in the AFC South. Whereas the Titans endured a disastrous offseason, the Colts have rectified their quarterback and pass-rushing issues. It’ll be a close race in the division, but Indianapolis should currently be the favorite to win it.

Projection: 10-7 (1st in AFC South)

2021 Projection: 10-7. 2021 Actual Result: 9-8.
2020 Projection: 13-3. 2020 Actual Result: 11-5.
2019 Projection: 7-9. 2019 Actual Result: 7-9.
2018 Projection: 6-10. 2018 Actual Result: 10-6.
2017 Projection: 6-10. 2017 Actual Result: 4-12.
2016 Projection: 12-4. 2016 Actual Result: 8-8.

NFL Draft Team Grade: A- Grade

Goals Entering the 2022 NFL Draft: The Colts traded two early picks for Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan. They still have three selections in the first four rounds, so they’ll be able to plug some areas of need, including left tackle, cornerback and receiver.

2022 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Despite lacking a first-round pick, the Colts made out pretty well with their draft haul. They used their initial three second-day choices on players who can help Matt Ryan, which was a good strategy. My two favorite picks were Alec Pierce and Bernhard Raimann. Pierce is an athletic receiver who will take over for T.Y. Hilton in the near future, while Raimann might be a permanent replacement for the retired Anthony Castonzo. The other pick was used on tight end Jelani Woods, who has a very high ceiling.

All but one of the Colts’ other choices were used on defense. Many of them were in the late rounds, so they’re not worth mentioning, though I think they obtained good value with Eric Johnson in the fifth frame. Safety Nick Cross also figures to be a good player, though Indianapolis made the mistake of surrendering a 2023 third-round choice to get him.

Despite this one blunder, the Colts should be graded highly for what they accomplished. They gave themselves a good chance to win the division with the players they obtained, which is impressive because they didn’t pick until the middle of the second round.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

53. Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati – A- Grade
Alec Pierce fits what the Colts look for in receivers, as far as height and athleticism is concerned. This pick is no surprise, given that T.Y. Hilton is on his way out. Pierce is a solid value here, as he easily could’ve gone a bit earlier than this.

73. Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia – B+ Grade
Another weapon for Matt Ryan certainly makes sense, especially after the Colts lost Jack Doyle to retirement this offseason. Jelani Woods is a raw, one-year wonder, but he’s unbelievably athletic and has the potential to turn into a star. He also has a low floor, but teams need to take risks to win Super Bowls. I like this pick.

77. Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan – A Grade
Bernhard Raimann has upside, but his arm length could be a problem. It’s why he fell to the third round, but the Colts were correct in obtaining him at this juncture. Eric Fisher is gone, so the Colts needed to do something to address this area. I had the Colts picking Raimann at No. 42, so I love this value!

96. Nick Cross, S, Maryland – C Grade
I like Nick Cross just fine as a third-round prospect, but I don’t know why the Colts had to give up a third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Cross is very athletic and possesses huge upside, but the Colts should have been more patient.

159. Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State – B+ Grade
The Colts had a horrible pass rush last year, so they had to find help in that regard. Eric Johnson is a solid player with nice size and length whom I frequently mocked in this range, so I like Indianapolis’ decision to take him.

192. Andrew Ogletree, TE, Youngstown State – A- Grade
Andrew Ogletree never found his way into my mock draft, but perhaps he should have after his amazing pro day. He ran a 4.69 and benched 26 reps at 260 pounds. You have to love the swing for the fences at a position of need.

216. Curtis Brooks, DT, Cincinnati – B Grade
Curtis Brooks is a smaller defensive tackle who will only be used on pass-rushing downs because he’s such a liability in run defense. Still, a specialist like him is a fine pick toward the end of the sixth round. He makes sense in this range.

239. Rodney Thomas, S, Yale – C+ Grade
Rodney Thomas II, much like Rodney Thomas I, was not considered to be a draftable prospect by anyone. I’m not even sure if he’s a real person, but I guess we’ll find out soon.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
The only thing the Colts needed to do to make the playoffs was beat the worst team in the NFL in the season finale. Not only did they lose; they got blown out! Carson Wentz was a colossal disappointment in his first season with Indianapolis.

Offseason Moves:
  • Colts sign QB Nick Foles
  • Colts sign RB Phillip Lindsay
  • Colts sign OT Dennis Kelly
  • Colts sign CB Stephon Gilmore
  • Colts sign LB Brandon King
  • Colts sign S Rodney McLeod
  • Colts sign S Armani Watts
  • Colts acquire QB Matt Ryan from Falcons for draft pick
  • Colts acquire DE Yannick Ngakoue from Raiders CB Rock Ya-Sin
  • Redskins acquire QB Carson Wentz for draft picks
  • Colts announce retirement of TE Jack Doyle

    Team Needs:
    1. Quarterback: Carson Wentz was terrible in his first and only season with the Colts. He is no longer on the team. Traded for Matt Ryan; signed Nick Foles

    2. Defensive End: The Colts’ top priority is addressing the pass rush, which produced less pressure on the quarterback than any other team in the NFL. Traded for Yannick Ngakoue

    3. Defensive Tackle: Help is needed in the interior of Indianapolis’ defensive line as well. A major talent is needed next to DeForest Buckner.

    4. Left Tackle: Eric Fisher was signed to replace the retired Anthony Castonzo. He did a mediocre job, and now he’s an impending free agent. A long-term answer at left tackle is needed. Signed Dennis Kelly

    5. Wide Receiver: T.Y. Hilton has looked washed up the past couple of seasons. Indianapolis needs a better No. 2 receiver.

    6. Guard: Mark Glowinski is another impending free agent who will need to be re-signed or replaced.

    7. Cornerback: A top free agent who doesn’t play on the offensive line is Xavier Rhodes. If he leaves, a new No. 1 cornerback will have to be obtained. Signed Stephon Gilmore

    8. Tight End: Jack Doyle has retired, so a new tight end will be needed.

    9. Linebacker: Another linebacker is needed to go along with Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2022 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Stephon Gilmore, CB, Panthers. Age: 31.
      Signed with Colts (2 years, $23 million)

      Stephon Gilmore is no longer the best cornerback in the NFL, but he’s still a shutdown cornerback. He has slowed down a bit now that he’s in his 30s.

    2. Rodney McLeod, S, Eagles. Age: 32.
      Signed with Colts

      Rodney McLeod was once considered a terrific safety, but those days are long gone. McLeod, 32 in June, was beaten in coverage frequently last year. He could rebound, but he may also regress.

    3. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Dolphins. Age: 28.
      Signed with Colts

      Phillip Lindsay has regressed in each of his NFL seasons. It’s puzzling why he has gotten worse every year, but perhaps he’ll rebound somewhere in 2022.

    4. Dennis Kelly, OT, Packers. Age: 32.
      Signed with Colts

      Dennis Kelly has been one of the best swing tackles in the NFL over the years. He could probably start for the next year or two.

    5. Nick Foles, QB, Bears. Age: 33. — Signed with Colts (2 years)
    6. Armani Watts, S, Chiefs. Age: 26. — Signed with Colts
    7. Brandon King, LB, Patriots. Age: 29. — Signed with Colts

    Indianapolis Colts Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Mark Glowinski, G, Colts. Age: 30.
      Signed with Giants (3 years, $20 million)

      Mark Glowinski has been a rock-solid guard for the Colts over the years. He turns 30 this offseason, but guards can play well into their mid-30s.

    2. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Colts. Age: 32.
      Xavier Rhodes has done a great job of rebounding off his dreadful final season in Minnesota, but he turns 32 this offseason, so there could be some permanent regression coming.

    3. Eric Fisher, OT, Colts. Age: 30.
      Eric Fisher is a mediocre starting left tackle. He filled in adequately for Anthony Castonzo, but the Colts will be looking for a better long-term answer.

    4. Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE, Colts. Age: 27.
      Signed with Bears (2 years, $10 million)

      Al-Quadin Muhammad is coming off his best season, notching six sacks in 2021.

    5. Marlon Mack, RB, Colts. Age: 26.
      The Colts decided not to move Marlon Mack at the trade deadline and then proceeded to keep him inactive most games. Mack is a former 1,000-yard rusher and is still young.

    6. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts. Age: 32.
      T.Y. Hilton looked washed up last year. Perhaps it was Carson Wentz’s fault, but Hilton could just be done.

    7. Sam Tevi, OT, Colts. Age: 27.
    8. Andrew Sendejo, S, Colts. Age: 34.
    9. Tyquan Lewis, DE, Colts. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Colts
    10. Kemoko Turay, DE, Colts. Age: 27.
    11. Chris Reed, G, Colts. Age: 30. — Signed with Vikings
    12. Zach Pascal, WR, Colts. Age: 27.
    13. Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Colts. Age: 29. — Re-signed with Colts (3 years, $18 million)
    14. Matt Pryor, OT, Colts. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Colts
    15. George Odum, S, Colts. Age: 28. — Signed with 49ers
    16. Taylor Stallworth, DT, Colts. Age: 27. — Signed with Chiefs
    17. T.J. Carrie, CB, Colts. Age: 32.
    18. Isaac Rochell, DE/DT, Colts. Age: 27.
    19. Zaire Franklin, LB, Colts. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Colts (3 years)
    20. Julie’n Davenport, OT, Colts. Age: 27.
    21. Antwaun Woods, DT, Colts. Age: 29.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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