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3 most important players on Colt's that aren't starters.


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3 most important players on Colts that aren’t starters

by Justin Bauerle

 

The Indianapolis Colts have a solid starting lineup that should compete in the AFC, but who are the important depth pieces?

The Indianapolis Colts have a lot of stars in the starting lineup but many players will see valuable time coming off the bench. Those players are guys like Nyheim Hines, Parris Campbell, and a mixture of Nick Cross and Rodney McLeod will do well, but who else?

The Colts have continuously built a strong depth, many of whom go on and sign starter contracts with other teams. Last year, we saw the Colts let Mark Glowinski and Chris Reed both walk to sign starting contracts on different teams.

This year could see more depth pieces make valuable contributions for the Colts this season. Let’s take a look at 3 of the most important Indy players that aren’t starters.

 

3. Ashton Dulin will be open— a lot.

Ashton Dulin is going to get a lot of work this season and he will be one of the Colts’ most under-the-radar players that make a strong impact on the team. With Matt Ryan on the roster now, the offense will have the ability to open up to more than just Michael Pittman Jr.

The Colts focused on building their passing offense this offseason with the addition of Ryan. I’d expect to see Ryan find the lesser-known guys more as teams prepare to have MPJ wrapped up in coverage.

Meanwhile, rookie receiver Alec Pierce is going to draw his own coverage, taking out the top two corners on the opposing side of the ball.

This is going to open room for guys like Campbell and Dulin to get separation over the top and in the middle of the field. It’s going to be a big season for Dulin this year, topping 700 yards with a few touchdowns in 2022.

 

 

2. Rookie proves that he can be a top tight end.

Chris Ballard proved to the league that he likes large, athletic tight ends. Not only did he retain Mo Alie-Cox in free agency, but he also double-downed by drafting Virginia big man Jelani Woods.

Jelani is a large, freak athlete and that will show in the NFL. Even if it is a slow start, Jelani is going to get work in and become the best tight end on the team.

There should be no question as to what kind of impact he will have on this team. He can get up and catch 50/50 balls, get in the open, and run straight through defenders. This is going to be the closest thing the Colts will have to a top-five tight end in the league.

Additionally, Frank Reich has discussed how Indy wants to have a tight end-centric passing game, so Woods should have plenty of opportunities to get on the field, develop, and showcase his talent at the NFL level.

 

1. Dayo crushes his sophomore season as an impactful rotational piece.

Last season, Dayo Odeyingbo was not even projected to play a single snap while recovering from the injury he brought from college. However, he did rehab quickly and got time on the field.

With the addition of Yannick Ngakoue via a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders, Dayo will be coming off the bench to rotate in with Ngakoue and Kwity Paye.

Last year, Dayo played in 10 games and started in none of them. He recorded one forced fumble, half a sack, and only six combined tackles.

This year, those numbers will increase as Dayo gets more significant time with the departures of other defensive linemen from the Colts roster.

Dayo is going to end up being the player on the Colts’ defensive unit that is always fresh, ready to hit the quarterback and make a big stop in the run game.

 

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  • Given the draft capital and hype around Dayo, he better have a good year lol. I like his chances to start at RDE on early downs until Ngakoue comes in for LEO downs. Also like his chances as the second DT on passing downs with Grover comes out. 
  • I agree Dulin could have a good year. Not saying Pro Bowl level, but he's a hard working, multi-use, type of kid with great traits. Hard working and flexible like Pascal, but much higher ceiling.
  • Rodgers would be my 3rd. He's simply continued to get better. 
  • You could put Hines on the list too, as he technically isn't a starter, although he's firmly in place as an APB. 

 

Woods and Pierce will likely take some time, but either emerging wouldn't surprise me.

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