The Colts made several transactions ahead of the NFL's Tuesday deadline for roster cuts, leaving them with the following players on their initial 53-man roster:
QUARTERBACKS (3): Sam Ehlinger, Gardner Minshew, Anthony Richardson
While Minshew will be Richardson's primary backup this season, Ehlinger earned his way on to the Colts' roster again for his work and acumen on and off the field. Also, beginning this season, teams can designate an emergency third quarterback – who must be on the 53-man roster – to dress on gamedays, but who does not count against the limit of 46 active players on gameday.
RUNNING BACKS (3): Evan Hull, Deon Jackson, Zack Moss
The Colts on Tuesday placed running back Jonathan Taylor on the Reserve/PUP list, meaning he'll miss a minimum of four games to begin the season. Moss sustained an arm injury during training camp but could return early in the season, if not by Week 1. Hull and Jackson were the Colts' primary running backs with the first-team offense during training camp.
WIDE RECEIVERS (4): Josh Downs, Isaiah McKenzie, Alec Pierce, Michael Pittman Jr.
The Colts, among other roster moves, released veteran wideouts Breshad Perriman, James Washington and Juwann Winfree, and waived 2021 seventh-round pick Mike Strachan, leaving the team with just four receivers on the initial 53-man roster. With this being the initial 53-man roster, the Colts could always make a move for a wide receiver on the waiver wire, or elevate someone from the practice squad to the active roster on gameday.
TIGHT ENDS (5): Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, Will Mallory, Drew Ogletree, Jelani Woods
Keeping five tight ends isn't as much of a surprise as it may seem given 1) how the Colts view the versatile talents of these guys and 2) the investment made into them, either in a contract extension (for Alie-Cox last year) or draft pick (for Granson in 2021, Woods and Ogletree in 2022 and Mallory in 2023).
OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Blake Freeland, Wesley French, Will Fries, Arlington Hambright, Ryan Kelly, Quenton Nelson, Carter O'Donnell, Bernhard Raimann, Braden Smith
Both Hambright and O'Donnell started at right guard while Fries was sidelined during the preseason. The Colts placed center Danny Pinter on injured reserve Tuesday, officially ending his season after he sustained a broken ankle in Thursday's preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
DEFENSIVE LINE (10): Adetomiwa Adebawore, McTelvin Agim, Taven Bryan, DeForest Buckner, Eric Johnson II, Grover Stewart, Samson Ebukam, Tyquan Lewis, Dayo Odeyingbo, Kwity Paye
The Colts kept six defensive tackles (Agim, Bryan, Buckner, Johnson, Stewart and Adebawore) against four defensive ends (Ebukam, Lewis, Odeyingbo, Paye). The goal here is to build an eight-player defensive line rotation; the Colts certainly have the volume of players – and the talent – to do that.
LINEBACKERS (6): Zaire Franklin, Shaquille Leonard, Segun Olubi, Cameron McGrone, EJ Speed, Grant Stuard
The Colts rotated Olubi and Stuard into the first-team defense throughout training camp, building depth behind the trio of Franklin, Leonard and Speed. Olubi, McGrone and Stuard are also key special teams contributors.
CORNERBACKS (6): Darrell Baker Jr., JuJu Brents, Tony Brown, Dallis Flowers, Jaylon Jones, Kenny Moore II
2023 fifth-round pick Darius Rush was waived on Tuesday, leaving the Colts with four primary outside cornerbacks (Baker, Brents, Flowers, Jones) and two guys who can play in the slot (Moore, Brown).
SAFETIES (4): Julian Blackmon, Nick Cross, Trevor Denbow, Rodney Thomas II
Cross has versatility to step in at either strong safety (for Blackmon) or free safety (for Thomas), while Denbow provides depth and special teams upside.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3): PK Matt Gay, LS Luke Rhodes, P Rigoberto Sanchez
No surprises here. The Colts signed Gay – one of the most consistent and clutch kickers in the NFL – as a free agent in March, while Sanchez returns after missing the 2022 season with an Achilles' injury. Rhodes is the second-longest tenured member of the Colts behind center Ryan Kelly.