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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cody Felger

5 fringe Colts players who need strong impression vs. Bills

The Indianapolis Colts are set to play the Buffalo Bills in their first preseason game of the 2023 season.

There are many players who are in the middle of fierce position battles for playing time or even to make the final roster.

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With that being said, here are five players who sit on the roster bubble and need to make the most of their opportunities and make a strong impression to the coaching staff in Buffalo.

If they are able to come out strong Saturday, they will be able to continue to build their case for one of the spots when the roster is trimmed down significantly in a few weeks.

RB Evan Hull

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Evan Hull, a fifth-round selection in the 2023 NFL draft, will likely see the lion’s share of the carries in week one. With Jonathan Taylor still on the PUP list, Zack Moss out the entirety of the preseason and Deon Jackson missing Thursday’s practice, Hull will get a prime opportunity to display his skillset to the coaching staff.

Hull is best known for his ability in the passing game, but his ability to run between the tackles could help bolster his case as the third running back in the crowded stable of running backs.

If Hull can put his ability on display, it will certainly make the running back competition that much more interesting.

TE Andrew Ogletree

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Similar to the running back room, the tight end room is very crowded, but has been hit with injuries so far in camp.

Insert Ogletree who likely would have made the team’s 53-man roster last year had he stayed healthy.

With the uncertainty behind Jelani Woods and Kylen Granson, Ogletree has a chance to separate himself from the other tight ends hoping to make the final roster.

If he plays on Saturday, look for the second-year player to make a strong impression with more opportunities for snaps against Buffalo.

WR Michael Strachan

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

It’s almost been like clockwork with Strachan in camp and the preseason. Big performances and flashes of what he could become, but inconsistency. The third-year receiver has once again impressed in training camp and has another chance to prove himself in the preseason.

There are a few differences, however, between this year as opposed to in the past. The first difference is a new offensive coaching staff that has no ties nor loyalties to Strachan.

The second difference is the sheer number of players currently slated ahead of Strachan. As it currently stands, there are five receivers who will presumably fill roster spots, leaving one potential spot open for competition.

Amongst the players that Strachan will be in competition with are former first-rounder Breshad Perriman and former third selection in 2021, Amari Rodgers, who has ability in the return game, making plays in camp as well.

The time for patience with Strachan is starting to wear thin and he could easily find himself on the outside looking in if he doesn’t make a strong impression.

DL Eric Johnson

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

The Colts selected Johnson out of Missouri State in the fifth round of the 2022 draft.

Year 1 for Johnson was pretty uneventful, but he was still a rotational piece on the defensive line.

Entering Year 2, Johnson finds himself in fierce competition in the interior of the defensive line.

It is unclear how many interior defensive linemen the Colts will keep, but whoever is the third defensive interior player will certainly have to earn it.

With a year under his belt, Johnson has the advantage of being in the system last year over players like Taven Bryan and McTelvin Algim.

With DeForest Buckner recovering from an injury, the opportunity is open for Johnson to make a strong impression against Buffalo.

CB Jaylon Jones

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Jones was taken by the Colts in the seventh round of the 2023 draft. Jones brings a lot of experience despite his age. He logged nearly 2,000 snaps in his three seasons at Texas A&M.

With injuries holding out fellow rookies Julius Brents and Darius Rush for the start of training camp, Jones got a ton of snaps in practice.

The rookie with get a chance to shine in the preseason and make his case for a roster spot.

If he can make a strong impression, it will go a long way in consideration for him as a long-term piece in the secondary.

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