Projecting Rookie Playing Time For 2019 Colts
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INDIANAPOLIS – Unlike last year, the Colts have nowhere near the immediate pressure on their draft class to produce from Day One.
Sure, some contributions will be needed, but nothing like the ‘must-have’ efforts from last year’s haul.
That’s what happens when you return 21 of 22 starters, don’t make a pick in Round One and are relying on this class to develop a bit with several position switches necessary.
Based off a 1-to-10 scale (1 being lucky to make the roster, 10 being a definite 16-game starter), let’s project the playing time for the Colts 2019 draft class:
- CB-Rock Ya-Sin (6-7): This might be a hair low. But, honestly, based off how the Colts’ top three cornerbacks (Kenny Moore, Pierre Desir, Quincy Wilson) finished last season, there’s not a huge pressing need to force Ya-Sin into the starting lineup. Still, the man-to-man strength of Ya-Sin should lead to him pushing for playing time. The Colts aren’t worried about any step up in competition for Ya-Sin, who only played above the FCS level for one season in college.
- LB-Ben Banogu (8-9): While the SAM linebacker position and overall role for Banogu is going to look vastly different to anything the Colts employed last season, he should crack the starting lineup. Yes, Bangou is making a position switch from college defensive end to (at least) an early down linebacker, but his playing time will likely still be there from Day One as the Colts move him around their defense.
- WR-Parris Campbell (7-8): There’s too much speed in Campbell to keep him on the bench much. In a 2-WR/2-TE set, maybe Campbell is behind Devin Funchess. But even if Campbell’s full route tree development takes some time, the Colts are still going to make sure there’s places for him to get on the field and touch the football.
- LB-Bobby Okereke (4-5): It’s still hard to imagine Okereke coming in and completely supplanting Anthony Walker at the MIKE position. But having Okereke’s length and speed on the field come passing downs could be his early integration into the Colts defense.
- S-Khari Willis (6-7): If this was a 2020 projection, Willis might be a ‘9’ or ‘10.’ But, for now, let’s dial things back just a bit with Clayton Geathers healthy and returning. Even with Malik Hooker and Geathers healthy in 2019, Willis might see some sub package duty when it’s time for those heavy DB personnel groupings.
- CB-Marvell Tell III (3-4): The Colts can definitely afford to be patient with Tell and that’s a good thing. Tell is making a switch to corner, a position he hasn’t played exclusively since high school.
- LB-EJ Speed (2-3): Outside of special teams, it’s hard to see Speed seriously challenging for defensive playing time in 2019. He’s making a massive jump in competition from Tarleton State.
- DE-Gerri Green (2-3): It’s a crowded defensive line group so Green is first going to have a challenge to secure his spot on the 53-man roster.
- OT-Jackson Barton (1-2): Unless an injury occurs at tackle, Barton could be looking at more of a practice squad role in 2019.
- C/G-Javon Patterson (1-2): The numbers are slightly less in the interior, but it’s still an uphill challenge for Patterson to make the 53-man roster.