The Indianapolis Colts have until Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET to cut the roster down to 53 players.
The roster will change throughout the season and even more likely the day after these cuts are made due to the waiver claim period. But the initial 53-man roster will lay the foundation for what the Colts want for the regular season.
An offer for Colts fans
Some roster cuts will be strategic. The Colts may keep a player on the initial 53-man roster so they don’t have to subject them to waivers right away. This would be in the hope that they can sneak that player onto the practice squad later after other teams have already made their moves.
Without further ado, here’s our final 53-man roster projection for the Colts following the preseason:
Analysis: Our last two projections have had the Colts keeping only two quarterbacks, but they probably don’t want to risk putting Ehlinger on waivers. The return of the emergency quarterback rule also furthers the point for keeping three quarterbacks on the active roster.
Notable Cuts: None
Running Back (3)
Analysis: No one truly knows what will happen with the Jonathan Taylor saga. There have been active trade offers, and the Colts have given him a soft deadline of Tuesday to find a suitable partner. The relationship has deteriorated so much that the Colts may simply put Taylor on the reserve/PUP list if no trade is completed. That would force Taylor to miss the first four games of the season. Right now, it seems likely to be one of those two options. Moss should be ready around the time for Week 1 so he makes the cut while Jackson and Hull were far and away the best in the backfield this preseason.
Notable Cuts: Kenyan Drake, Jake Funk
Wide Receiver (5)
|Michael Pittman Jr.
Analysis: The season-ending injury to Ashton Dulin is a big blow to the room, and it complicates the projection. The Colts could keep up to six wide receivers but there weren’t enough standouts for that. The fifth and final spot goes to Rodgers due to his special teams abilities. Juwann Winfree and Mike Strachan are in the conversation as well.
Notable Cuts: Mike Strachan, Breshad Perriman, Juwann Winfree
Tight End (5)
Analysis: I’ve come around to the idea of keeping five tight ends, but Alie-Cox is far from a lock to make this roster. He dealt with an injury all preseason and played just eight snaps in the finale. Are we sure the new regime sees him as a starting option in this offense? It would be preferable to trade him rather than cutting him outright, but he will be one to watch.
Notable Cuts: Pharoah Brown
Offensive Line (9)
Analysis: Of all the position groups to potentially undergo big changes via the waiver wire, the offensive line takes the cake. Depth was already extremely thin, and now Danny Pinter is expected to miss the season due to a broken ankle. That injury opens up a spot for French, who had a solid preseason. Hambright makes the cut for now, but expect some active moves through the waiver wire or free agency after roster cuts are made.
Notable Cuts: Dakoda Shepley, Emil Ekiyor
Defensive Line (9)
Analysis: The starters and most of the depth pieces are set in this room, but there are one or two spots up for grabs. I wouldn’t want to risk losing Adebawore to waivers so that really leaves one spot at defensive tackle. That comes down to Agim and second-year Eric Johnson II. I’ve been more impressed by the former this preseason but it could go either way. If the Colts opt to keep a fifth edge rusher, Khalid Kareem and rookie Titus Leo both are in the conversation.
Notable Cuts: Titus Leo, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Khalid Kareem, Eric Johnson II
Analysis: I don’t love the idea of keeping only five linebackers because the position impacts special teams greatly. Stuard enjoyed a stellar preseason while he and Domann are staples on special teams. Segun Olubi could make it as a sixth backer, but the Colts may need flexibility elsewhere on the initial roster.
Notable Cuts: Segun Olubi, Donavan Mutin, Liam Anderson
|Darrell Baker Jr.
|Kenny Moore II
Analysis: The three starters have essentially been locked in since the start of the preseason while all three draft picks showed enough to make the initial roster. Hopefully, Brents’ hamstring injury doesn’t force a trip to the PUP list to begin the season so we’ll monitor that. Brown gets the nod over Chris Lammons at nickel due to his special teams ability and the fact that Lammons faces a three-game suspension to begin the season so he may get transferred to the suspended list.
Notable Cuts: Isaac Taylor-Stuart, Kevin Toliver II
|Rodney Thomas II
Analysis: We’ve gone back and forth between four and five safeties. The room is finally healthy enough to keep four to start the season. Even though there were veteran additions made late in the preseason, the Colts roll with four. Henry Black just missed the cut here, but he had a strong preseason and should factor into the practice squad.
Notable Cuts: Henry Black, Marcel Dabo, Ronnie Harrison, Teez Tabor
Analysis: Nothing to really see here.