INDIANAPOLIS – For the 26 rookies currently on the Colts roster, Monday was no time to rest after their three-day minicamp concluded on Sunday afternoon.
Full offseason work has begun for the rookies, who now join up with the veterans for the final five weeks of the offseason program.
Before we look ahead to the upcoming OTAs (May 22) and minicamp (June 13-15), let's take a look back on the 2017 rookie minicamp:
**Malik Hooker Rehabs, Watches
**Pencil in late July for the debut of Malik Hooker practicing at the NFL level.
Training Camp remains the scheduled return for Hooker, as he finishes up rehab for January surgeries on his labrum and hernia.
Hooker spoke to the media during the rookie minicamp and harped on the head start he can get from the mental side of things during this observation period.
It’s a “wide open” secondary for the Colts in 2017, with a strong possibility of two rookies cracking the starting lineup in the defensive backfield.**
Rookies Needed Early On Defense**
Two rookie starters on defense? Three? Four?
The Colts could very well have two to three rookie starters on defense in 2017.
A couple of more have strong chances to play in rotational roles.
Chuck Pagano knows the Colts are going to be leaning heavily on some young defenders this fall. The head coach would love to have Tarell Basham as one of those rookies.
Basham, the team’s third-round pick, is just the second pass rusher the Colts have taken in the first four rounds of a draft since Jerry Hughes in 2010.
Photos from the second day of the 2017 Colts Rookie Mini-Camp
**Grover Stewart Impresses Pagano
That's how you would describe rookies Zach Banner (listed at 6-9 and 360 pounds) and Grover Stewart (listed at 6-4 and 347 pounds).
The Colts want to re-shape the body of Banner, who saw his weight balloon into the 380s during his collegiate days at USC. Banner says he's south of 350 now and the Colts will emphasize their weight program and nutritional plan on the lone offensive lineman draft pick in 2017.
In Stewart, he carries his weight very well. Take a look at Stewart and it's hard to imagine that he weighs nearly 350 pounds, yet was still routinely beating interior lineman during the rookie minicamp.
On paper, the Colts probably do not need to throw Banner or Stewart into major roles as rookies. But Stewart showed some early flashes that he might push for time, if the jump in competition from Division II isn't too immense.
**Looking For A Defensive Leader
**One area to watch the rest of the offseason is how the leadership torch is passed on the defensive side of the ball.
Rookie inside linebacker Anthony Walker is known for his leadership qualities.
The son of a high school coach, Walker was directing traffic during the rookie minicamp.
"He hasn't missed a beat," Chuck Pagano says of Walker. "With the first unit, he's called every defensive snap in camp. He gets guys lined up. He makes the calls. He makes the coverage checks. He knows formations, knows personnel."
Similar to the secondary, who starts at inside linebacker position is anyone's guess.
Walker is one of a handful of ILBs competing to crack the starting 11, and possibly absorb the duties of lining everyone up pre-snap.
**Undrafted Guys To Watch
**Coming out of the rookie minicamp, five of the more than 40 tryout guys earned a spot on the 90-man roster.
The Colts are now heading into the rest of the offseason program with some changes to the 18 undrafted free agents they signed earlier this month.
We know long snapper Thomas Hennessy is a guy on track to be a member of the 53-man roster.
The undrafted group has five weeks left in the offseason program to make an impression that could lead to more reps/opportunities early in Training Camp.
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