PERSONNEL NEWS

Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

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A closer look at the Colts’ picks:

Round 1/6 — Quenton Nelson, G, 6-5, 230, Notre Dame

Hard-nosed bear of an offensive lineman. Considered the best offensive lineman available in this year’s draft. Will get a chance to start at left guard from Day 1.

Round 2/36 — Darius Leonard, OLB, 6-3, 235, South Carolina State

Talented outside linebacker prospect who is expected to get work early. Could push for a starter’s role in new defensive scheme

Round 2/37 — Braden Smith, G, 6-6, 303, Auburn

Another brawler at guard. Will be given every opportunity to win a starting job at right guard. Both Nelson and Smith were first-team Associated Press All-America selections.

Round 2/52 — Kemoko Turay, DE, 6-5, 252, Rutgers

Despite limited playing time over the course of his college career due to shoulder issues, the Colts really like this athletic defensive end prospect. Very raw experience wise but has proven to be a quick learner.

Round 2/64 — Tyquan Lewis, DE, 6-4, 265, Ohio State

Talented Big 10 defensive lineman who could push for playing time as a rookie. Has shown his versatility by playing inside at defensive tackle in college. Can also play left or right defensive end.

Round 4/104 — Nyheim Hines, RB, 5-8, 195, North Carolina State

Speedy running back who began collegiate career as a wide receiver. Can be used in a variety of ways on offense. Will also return punts and kickoffs.

Round 5/159 — Daurice Fountain, WR, 6-1, 210, Northern Iowa

FCS prospect who could end up being the surprise pick of the draft for Indianapolis. Possesses good size, can jump and has long arms. A diamond in the rough type of player.

Round 5/169 — Jordan Wilkins, RB, 6-1, 217, Mississippi

Played well in big games for Ole Miss last season. Had particularly strong efforts against Alabama and LSU. Primarily an outside runner who has shown the ability to take it inside.

Round 6/185 — Deon Cain, WR, 6-1, 190, Clemson

Unexpectedly dropped in the draft after being considered to go relatively early in the process. Has good hands and good size. Will be in the mix for a starting job as a rookie.

Round 7/221 — Matthew Adams, MLB, 6-1, 237, Houston

Late-round prospect who will start out working on special teams. Will get a look at playing middle linebacker in the Colts’ new 4-3 defensive scheme. Hard-hitter with a nose for the football.

Round 7/235 — Zaire Franklin, ILB, 6-0, 239, Syracuse

Underrated linebacking prospect. Could wind up being a good addition in an area that needed improved depth. Will probably get a look as a WILL linebacker in the Colts new defensive scheme.

PLUG AND PLAY

G Quenton Nelson: Rated by many draft observers as the best offensive line prospect available this year. Others think that Nelson is the best guard prospect in several years. As things stand now, the former Irish offensive lineman is expected to step in immediately as the Colts’ starting left guard. Nelson should team well with third-year center Ryan Kelly and left tackle Anthony Castonzo — all former first-round draft picks — as Indianapolis attempts to piece together a more potent offensive line. A bulldog as a run blocker, Nelson has shown to be adept as a pass blocker as well.

WILL SURPRISE

WR Daurice Fountain: A fifth-round draft pick. He is a pure athlete who excelled on the FCS level at Northern Iowa. Has good size along with long arms and can jump. Fountain played well in post-season all-star games against FBS competition and was named as the offensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game. Still very raw as a receiver but shows the ability to step his game up. Very much a diamond in the rough.

WHAT THE HELL?

DE Kemoko Turay: Played just one year of high school football. Turay had limited playing time at Rutgers due to surgical procedures on both of his shoulders. Had a strong senior season, however, to warrant a long look by scouts. Prior to 2017, though, he battled injury issues for two seasons. He had 7.5 sacks as senior but only seven sacks the remainder of his college career. Turay played standing up in college but will be a 4-3 hand-on-the-ground lineman in the NFL. While some draft observers see Turay as a special teams player or a backup defensive lineman, general manager Chris Ballard envisions the former Scarlet Knights defensive lineman as a potential starter at some point. Ballard sees Turay as potentially being one of the answers to the Indianapolis pass-rush issues.

PERSONNEL TRACKER
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

–WR Kamar Aiken underperformed in what may be his only season on the Colts roster. Was looking for more playing time after coming over from Baltimore last offseason. Got the playing time but the numbers weren’t all that impressive. Only caught 15 passes for 133 yards and didn’t have a receiving touchdown. In fact, Aiken had better numbers with the Ravens in 2016 (29/328/1).

–S Darius Butler played relatively well after making the move last offseason from slot cornerback to free safety. Also showed that he could fill in as a situational strong safety if needed. Butler has been one of the Colts’ best ballhawks on defense the last several seasons, although he did not have an interception in 2017. Still wound up with 35 total tackles, and 29 were solo.

–C Mike Person stepped in and played relatively well in 2017 when Indianapolis’ two best centers — Ryan Kelly and Deyshawn Bond — wound up on the injured reserve list. Proved to be a good backup offensive lineman who can also play guard if needed. Might have shown enough last season to bring back in 2018.

–QB Scott Tolzien is not expected to return to the team. Tolzien was given the keys to the offense after Andrew Luck was unable to return from offseason shoulder surgery and couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity. He had a sluggish preseason and then was benched after his only start, a season-opening loss to the Rams. Tolzien probably isn’t in the team’s plans going forward as Jacoby Brissett has supplanted him as the Colts’ No. 2 quarterback.

–TE Brandon Williams has been a productive tight end when healthy. Williams ended 2017 on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in a late-season game. He wound up with 13 catches for 121 yards in limited playing time. Might be brought back to help shore up the Colts’ overall depth at tight end if concussion issues aren’t an ongoing problem.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

–CB Pierre Desir: UFA; $1.75M/1 yr, $750K guaranteed/$750K RB.

–G Jack Mewhort: UFA; 1 yr, $1.5M/1 yr, $300K guaranteed/$700K RB.

–RB Christine Michael: UFA; $790K/1 yr.

–CB Chris Milton: ERFA; $630K/1 yr.

–LS Luke Rhodes: ERFA; $630k/1 yr.

–TE Erik Swoope: ERFA; $630k/1 yr.

–K Adam Vinatieri: Potential UFA; $3.625M/1 yr, $2M guaranteed/$1M RB.

–T Jeremy Vujnovich: ERFA; $630K/1 yr.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED

–CB Kenneth Acker: UFA Chiefs; $705K/1 yr.

–DE Denico Autry: UFA Raiders; $17,.8M/3 yrs, $6.5M fully guaranteed.

–TE Eric Ebron: FA Lions; $13M/2 yrs, $6.25M guaranteed/$5.25M RB.

–LB Najee Goode: UFA Eagles; $790K/1 yr.

–WR Ryan Grant: UFA Redskins; $5M guaranteed/1 yr.

–C/G Matt Slauson: UFA Chargers; $2.5M/1 yr, $750K guaranteed RB.
PLAYERS LOST

–ILB Jon Bostic: UFA Steelers; $4M/2 yrs, $1.4M SB.

–RB Frank Gore: UFA Dolphins; $1.105M/1 yr, $90K SB.

–DT Johnathan Hankins (released).

–DE Henry Anderson (traded Jets).

–CB Rashaan Melvin: UFA Raiders; $5.5M/1 yr, $4.85M fully guaranteed/$3M SB.

–OLB Barkevious Mingo: UFA Seahawks; $6.8M/2 yrs, $3.2M fully guaranteed/$2.2M SB.

–WR Donte Moncrief: UFA Jaguars; $9.6M/1 yr fully guaranteed; $4M SB.

 

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