Four-Down Friday: Who Makes The Team At Outside Linebacker?

Posted Aug 15, 2014

Intro: What’s on the minds of those in Colts Nation? How does Jonotthan Harrison project at center? How deep is the Colts receiving group?

INDIANAPOLIS – You asked them and we answered them.

Here’s “Four-Down Friday” which is a weekly Twitter Q and A piece that will run every Friday.

This week’s installment of questions focuses on Jonotthan Harrison, roster cuts at outside linebacker, the depth at wideout and if the Colts will look elsewhere for offensive line help.

Harrison will get his second major NFL test on Saturday night, and this one comes with far more preparation than the pop quiz he received in the preseason opener. After being thrust into action just seven snaps into the preseason opener, Harrison now has an entire week of practice behind him with Andrew Luck, and the Colts first team offense.

There’s a reason Harrison was a three-year starter in the SEC. The staff has praised him ever since the team’s rookie minicamp back in mid-May. Andrew Luck thinks highly of Harrison and the top priority for whoever lines up in front of 12, must have his protection atop their list.

With Robert Mathis out for the first month of the season, you have an open roster spot to use. Right now the Colts are carrying six outside linebackers and I’d expect right around a handful to be kept on the 53-man roster.

Bjoern Werner and Erik Walden are the current starters at outside linebacker. In the preseason opener, we saw Cam Johnson, a guy who has battled injuries all offseason, record a sack. Special teams ace Andy Studebaker was all over the field and filled in very nicely at inside linebacker. That makes five and that doesn’t include Jonathan Newsome who is listed as a defensive end and has shown some ability to play off the edge.

You mentioned the top three guys and even though I won’t go in-depth on them, they shouldn’t be taken for granted. Hakeem Nicks, in particular, had a nice end to camp in Anderson.

Donte Moncrief has been very impressive for a 21-year old rookie. He’s starting to move around the receiver position and coaches have raved about how Moncrief has grasped a complex playbook. Griff Whalen just quietly goes about his business, making his fair share of plays at camp and looks to be in the mix at punt returner as well. Beginning with his 45-yard reception in the preseason opener, Da’Rick Rogers had a nice close to camp in Anderson. I have also been impressed by a few of the undrafted receivers, granted the numbers at that position aren’t in their favor.

No matter the position (well maybe not quarterback or specialists), this staff is always going to evaluate other options to try and improve the roster. I mentioned this in the mailbag earlier this week but the two dates to watch are August 26 (the cut down to 75) and then August 30 (the final cut to 53).

Typically, teams carry nine offensive linemen on a 53-man roster. So as cuts begin to be made keep an eye on some of the teams with deep line groups and you know the Colts will be scouring that waiver wire to see if a guy fits what they are looking for in the trenches.

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