INDIANAPOLIS – As was expected entering this past season, the Colts rookies were not needed for a whole lot in 2022.
In total, the Colts had 7 rookies play last season (6 of their 7 draft picks played in a game).
How did the rookies perform in 2022?
- DE-Kwity Paye (15 games, 15 starts): In being a full-time starter from Day 1, Paye finished his rookie season with 32 total tackles (3 for loss), 4.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 10 quarterback hits. Paye’s rankings among fellow rookies in those stats were: 6th in sacks, 21st in tackles for loss, 7th in QB hits. Given where Paye was drafted and his history in college, you would have liked a little more punch from him.
- DL-Dayo Odeyingbo (10 games, 0 starts): The Colts ended up counting on Odeyingbo in a consistent rotational role for the back half of 2021. Odeyingbo played 173 snaps in 10 games, finishing with 6 total tackles (0 for loss), 1 forced fumble and 0.5 sacks. It’s impossible to truly evaluate Odeyingbo in playing less than a year after tearing his Achilles. He remains a massive, and versatile, piece of the future on the Colts DL
- TE-Kylen Granson (17 games, 0 starts): The Colts started to expand the playing time of Kylen Granson late in the year. The fourth-round pick finished his rookie campaign with 11 catches for 106 yards. Granson played 228 offensive snaps in 17 games. The thought was Granson would have a slightly bigger role. Even though his playing time jumped a bit late, he had just 1 catch for 6 yards in the final four games of the season.
- S-Shawn Davis (0 games): The 5th round pick from Florida was cut at the end of the preseason. Davis joined the Indy practice squad after that, but his stay there was only for a week. Davis ended the year with the Packers, playing 1 game.
- QB-Sam Ehlinger (4 games, 0 starts): Once Ehlinger recovered from his preseason knee injury, it became clear the staff wanted him to be Carson Wentz’s backup. Ehlinger was that for the final half of the season. He didn’t attempt a pass in his 18 snaps of rookie action (mostly in running out the clock mode). Ehlinger has traits that could have him in a backup role for years to come. In Indy, he’s with a staff that holds his leadership qualities in very high regard.
- WR-Mike Strachan (6 games, 0 starts): Strachan’s last playing time in 2021 was in Week 9. He didn’t have a catch after Week 2. The Colts like Strachan’s potential, but the mental handling of an NFL offense was something that held him back as a rookie, along with a lack of a special teams role. That’s understandable after he didn’t play college football in 2020. Strachan had 2 catches on 3 targets for 26 yards. He played 62 total offensive snaps, seeing the field for just 10 snaps following Week 2.
- OL-Will Fries (3 games): The 7th round pick out of Penn State saw offensive action in two games. It was mop-up duty against the Texans and emergency duty versus the Cardinals. The staff was pretty pleased with how Fries handled things. Moving forward, Fries should be a depth piece with several veteran OL free agents having uncertain futures in Indy.
- RB-Deon Jackson (9 games, 0 starts): Jackson was the lone undrafted free agent to see playing time in 2021. He had 13 carries for 31 yards in 16 offensive snaps (81 on special teams). The staff seemed open to the idea of giving Jackson meaningful carries late in the year. I’m guessing that Jackson enters the spring as the No. 3 running back, assuming Marlon Mack’s career goes elsewhere as a free agent.
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