INDIANAPOLIS – It’s still early, but we are starting to see some movement in a few of the Colts position battles.
When camp opened up last week, I pointed to six position battles I’ll be watching at Grand Park.
Here are the Colts position battles to watch after one week of training camp:
Wide Receiver No. 2
While the specific ‘No. 2’ spot might still be a debate, we are starting to see some separation on the wideout depth chart.
I think it’s fair to say the top four names at wideout are as followed: Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell/Alec Pierce, Ashton Dulin
After those 4, you have names like Dezmon Patmon, Keke Coutee and DeMichael Harris.
Easily the biggest ‘loser’ in this camp battle has been the injured Mike Strachan. A June knee surgery for Strachan has kept him off the practice field at Grand Park, and his absence could extend into the latter stages of August. That’s less than ideal for a guy needing to earn this staff’s trust.
Three practices in and Matt Pryor has taken every single starting rep at left tackle.
Now, the full pads have yet to be donned yet at Grand Park. That will obviously offer a truer evaluation of things.
But rookie Bernhard Raimann remains with the second team as their left tackle.
The Colts sticking with one guy at left tackle for the early part of camp is how they operated last year, too, before Sam Tevi lost his starting job.
Just like at left tackle, right guard has seen one guy take the starting reps here.
That’s third-year pro Danny Pinter, who has never played guard, at any level of football.
The biggest challenger to Pinter was thought to be the loser of the Pryor/Raimann battle.
With the second-team offensive line, it’s been Raimann at left tackle and Will Fries at center.
About 10 days out from the preseason opener, and before the full pads have come on, it’s looking like Pryor and Pinter will round out the starting five.
No. 2/3 Cornerback
It’s safe to say that when the Colts are in their base defense (2 cornerbacks on the field), it’s Stephon Gilmore and Kenny Moore II on the outside.
When it’s time for a third cornerback to come on the field, that’s where Brandon Facyson comes into play. Facyson lines up outside, with Moore moving to his more natural inside slot corner position
Isaiah Rodgers has had some nice camp moments, but he appears to be the 4th cornerback right now.
Again, this entire corner playing time battle is a tad complicated, with Gilmore’s health/workload playing a factor, too.
So far, I’d give the longer Facyson the slight nod for the 3rd corner spot.
Rookie Nick Cross wasted no time making the most of early starting reps this camp.
With veteran Rodney McLeod still working his way back from a minor knee procedure this summer, it was Cross lining up next to Julian Blackmon to start thing at Grand Park.
Cross had a highlight interception on the second play of the first 7-on-7 period of camp.
And with McLeod slowly being re-integrated into team drills, it’s been Cross taking the early lead on the open strong safety spot.
This will be interesting to watch play out, with McLeod now back and healthy.
Julian Blackmon’s rapid Achilles recovery continues to amaze as he looks good to go for Week 1 in Houston.
We are still waiting for our first kicking session in camp.
Other special teams units (punt return, kick return, punt coverage, etc) have received the ST practice time so far.
Given the lack of field goal reps in camp, Rodrigo Blankenhip would really have to struggle to lose his job to Jake Verity.
Remember, Hot Rod was perfect in his camp battle with Eddy Pinerio last year.
Verity has never kicked in an NFL game, spending last year on the Ravens practice squad after going undrafted in 2021.
Of course, this is a position that you see some late August roster movement. So maybe we don’t get a final answer here until September arrives.