There will be a lot of introductions going around NFL locker rooms on Monday morning as teams incorporate their rookie classes with OTAs continuing through the rest of the month.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke posed a couple of question surrounding the Colts with rosters growing to 90 on the practice field this week.
Below are his two questions on the Colts and both Burke and I offer our analysis on the proposed issues.
- Burke’s Analysis: This sure feels like Vick Ballard’s job to lose after he led the team in rushing last season. Nobody on the depth chart appears on the cusp of stardom, though, from Ballard to Donald Brown to seventh-rounder Kerwynn Williams. Ballard’s 814-yard rookie year at least gives Indianapolis something on which to build.
- Bowen’s Analysis: I would have to agree with Burke’s notion that the running back job is Vick Ballard’s to lose. Ballard was productive in his rookie season and that was running behind an offensive line that has improved in the offseason and an offense that appears to be utilizing more of a fullback than last year. I could very well see Ballard being a consistent 1,000+-yard rusher for years to come. Donald Brown (speed) and Delone Carter (power) both fit a role at the running back position but it’s hard to imagine either of them supplanting Ballard as the starter. Kerwynn Williams’ first crack at making a contribution should be on special teams but the return threat also showed at rookie minicamp this past weekend that he can catch the ball out of the backfield and has a chance to find a role as a third down back.
- Burke’s Analysis: This ought to be an interesting one with Walden, arguably overpaid in free agency at four years and $16 million, taking on Werner, whom many thought should play DE in the pros. The winner gets to start opposite Robert Mathis at OLB in the Colts’ 3-4 scheme. Walden was underwhelming as a Packer, which is why Green Bay let him walk without any semblance of a fight this offseason. He could hold down the fort, at least early as Werner learns the ins and outs of playing linebacker.
- Bowen’s Analysis: First off, let’s make this clear that this is a great problem to have at the outside linebacker position. Pro Bowler Robert Mathis is the obvious starter at one side of the linebacker corps but the other side has two quality candidates. Walden has been raved about for his ability to set the edge and he was one of the bigger splashes the Colts made in free agency. Werner will get his first taste of veterans in the NFL this week during OTAs, after the Colts first round draft pick had a very solid start to his professional career at rookie minicamp. Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky made it clear that there will be times this year where all three will be on the field together and expect this specific battle to last well into August with two dynamic edge players, both of which will play a good portion of defensive snaps come the regular season.
Tags: Bjoern Werner, chuck pagano, Delone Carter, donald brown, erik walden, Greg Manusky, kerwynn williams, robert mathis, vick ballard
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