INDIANAPOLIS — With the Indianapolis Colts set to begin training camp soon at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind., Colts.com takes a look at some of the under-the-radar players to keep an eye on throughout camp:
» Christine Michael, running back: The sixth-year veteran Michael was signed by the Colts late last offseason, but quickly suffered a knee injury and was placed on Injured Reserve, missing the entire 2017 season. But after implementing a new offensive approach — including the use of a running back-by-committee system — under first-year head coach Frank Reich, the Colts decided to re-sign Michael in March to add both competition and another needed veteran voice to the room. Michael was prominently featured in practices throughout this offseason, but his potential role becomes even more intriguing heading into training camp now that fellow veteran running back Robert Turbin has been suspended the first four games of the regular season. Michael has seemed to take advantage with limited opportunities at each stop along his NFL journey, running the ball 254 times for 1,080 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns. With a strong performance in camp and the preseason, perhaps he can find a more permanent home in Indy?
» Steve Ishmael, wide receiver: Ishmael might've gone undrafted this year, but he certainly has the production of a college receiver with NFL potential written all over him. Signed by the Colts on May 1, Ishmael was one of the greatest wide receivers in Syracuse history, joining the likes of Marvin Harrison. Ishmael started 39-of-47 career games at the school and compiled 219 receptions for 2,891 yards and 18 touchdowns. He finished as the program's all-time leader in receiving yardage and his 10 100-yard receiving games ranked second on the Orange career list. His career receptions total was the second most in school history and the 12th on the ACC career chart. He tied for fourth in school history in touchdown receptions and fifth in receiving yards per game (61.5). The challenge now, however, is that the Colts simply don't have a ton of room on the depth chart at wide receiver. While veterans T.Y. Hilton, Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant appear locks for the first three spots, the team also used draft picks on two talented wide receivers in Reece Fountain (fifth round) and Deon Cain (sixth round). But whether the Colts end up keeping five or six wide receivers on their initial 53-man roster, there always seems to be one undrafted rookie that makes noise at the position each training camp and preseason. Two years ago it was Rogers; last year it was JoJo Natson. Will Ishmael be able to do the same this time around?
» Tyrell Adams, linebacker: Adams is the perfect example when one says "the NFL is a business." He's played in parts of 12 games over the last two seasons with the Oakland Raiders, but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his NFL journey, which started when he was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted rookie free agent out of West Georgia in May 2015. Since that time, Adams has been involved in at least 17 transactions with five different organizations, getting waived, then signed to practice squads, then waived again, signed to another practice squad, waived again … and continuing that trend until he was signed to the Raiders' active roster towards the end of the 2016 season, playing with the team again to start 2017 and being waived once again before having a one-day stint with the Buffalo Bills. Adams was signed by the Colts as a free agent on Feb. 23, and he was constantly on the field with the "first-team" defense during offseason practices, getting lots of work at the SAM linebacker spot, specifically. It's tough to tell who exactly is the front runner for these jobs, particularly at linebacker, but if Adams can continue impressing the coaching staff through the training camp and preseason, perhaps he can finally start to feel a little bit more comfortable in finding a more permanent home in the Indy area.
» Chris Milton, cornerback: The Colts seem content with a cornerback core group that includes the likes of Pierre Desir, Quincy Wilson, Nate Hairston and Kenny Moore II. But if the team decides to bring on a fifth cornerback as part of its initial 53-man roster, Milton could certainly be a prime candidate. The third-year Georgia Tech product signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2016, and ended up playing in six games, with one start, in his rookie season after the team became plagued with injuries at the position. Milton would go on to play in 14 games last season, however, and turned into one of the team's top playmakers on special teams — which is typically expected out of a fourth or fifth cornerback. Milton's six special teams tackles in 2017 trailed only Moore II (eight) for the team lead. So while his play on defense during camp is certainly critical, new special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone will also likely have a say when it comes to some of the more "on the bubble" type players, like Milton.