INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday mailbag.
Here is this week's collection:Fernando Martino (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Kevin, from the 8 players selected in the draft, which ones can contribute right away and which ones still need time to develop? Among those who can help right now, which ones may be starters in Week 1?
Bowen: This is a great question. Unless, the Colts come out in a three-receiver set in the season opener, I'm not sure if any of the draft picks will immediately "start." Nowadays in the NFL, you just don't see many non-offensive linemen drafted outside of the top-20 start from day one. Now, that obviously doesn't mean these guys won't contribute significantly. Phillip Dorsett is going to play a bevy of snaps if he does end up being the No. 3 wide receiver. Henry Anderson, and possibly David Parry, will see plenty of action along defensive line. If D'Joun Smith finds his way into the starting line (the Colts return Vontae Davis, Greg Toler and Darius Butler), he will be playing virtually every defensive snap. If Clayton Geathers wins a starting safety spot, he would also rarely come off the field. As of now, I don't see any rookie starting in 2015 but again that could change for a variety of reasons.
Alonso Leyva (West Texas)
I bleed blue and grey and don't question our staff.... having a strong receiving cor already as is, as good as dorsett is, why a receiver considering o-line, d-line, and db needs?? confused. COLTSTRONG 20+years!!!
Bowen: We got a few of these questions this week. In looking deeper at the pick, I see a few reasons why the Colts had such a strong conviction in taking Dorsett. The first being pretty simple, he was the Colts best player available on the board. Jim Irsay talked about a possible trade scenario that entered the equation on Thursday night but outside of that, Dorsett was the guy once the Colts got on the clock. While winning in the trenches remains a major focus heading into 2015, and something the Colts added during the draft, finding another playmaker was a need, too. Think back to that New England game when Colts receivers caught just two passes in 12 targets. This is something that Jim Irsay touched on after the draft in explaining the importance of bringing in another pass catcher who can win those favorable matchups. With two distinct offensive playmakers, and a handful of defensive selections, the Colts feel they've definitely addressed the necessary needs for 2015, and beyond.
Jim Stephenson (Fort Myers, FL)
in addition to running back frank gore, who else did the colts pick up in free agency ?
Chuck Favory (Fort Wayne, IN)
Been a fan since 1968! I am very impressed with our off season choices! The skilled positions are going to be very competitive and fun to watch them battle at training camp! My question is who do you see as our next utility player like Andy Studebaker?
Bowen: For fans that don't know, Studebaker, who was a key special teams player the past two years for the Colts, was a free agent this offseason and remains unsigned. Similar to Sergio Brown's presence on special teams, a lesser-known storyline this offseason will be finding core special teams guys like Studebaker and Brown. The "next man up" philosophy for the Colts has carried over to special teams, particularly when Brown became a starting safety for a portion of last season. Two guys that I will be watching to potentially fill such special teams roles in 2015 will be safety Clayton Geathers (played on all units at Central Florida) and linebacker Amarlo Herrera (would have been a special teams guy at Georgia, if he wasn't playing every defensive snap for the Bulldogs).
Andrew Dorrell (Bloomington, IN)
Any chance on D'Joun Smith playing FS?
Bowen: This was definitely a question on fans minds when Smith was taken at the start of the third round on Friday night. Smith did play some safety at Florida Atlantic but all indications point to cornerback being his likely position. This question was also sent in prior to the Colts taking safety Clayon Geathers in the fourth round of the draft. At 5-11 and 190 pounds, Smith is described as an "in your face" tackler but I just don't see safety being in his future. He has the potential to be a lock down corner in this league for years to come.
Tommy Griffiths (Utah)
This is very early I know but what number do think Dorsett will wear? I think #11 sounds perfect. In addition to that I believe that Dorsett was a very good pick despite some defensive needs for the Colts because Grigson has shown that he can have success in the later rounds and Dorsett obviously has undeniable rare talent that is most likely not in the rest of the draft. What are your thoughts on this?
Bowen: Tommy, Dorsett is actually going to wear No. 16. The rest of the rookie draft picks will be the following numbers: D'John Smith (30), Henry Anderson (96), Clayton Geathers (42), David Parry (54), Josh Robinson (34), Amarlo Herrera (49) and Denzelle Good (71). I touch on Dorsett throughout this mailbag but one thing to keep in mind is just how many snaps he could play in 2015. For argument's sake, let's say Dorsett is the Colts No. 3 wide receiver. Last year, Hakeem Nicks played about 50 percent of the team's offensive snaps in that role. At defensive line, a reserve lineman played right around 35% of snaps in 2014. Dorsett is going to have a greater impact on the game (that doesn't even include probably punt return duties) than taking a defensive lineman in the first round. Having said that, I still think Henry Anderson's addition will upgrade the Colts depth and production up front.
Chase Lemke (Minneapolis, MN)
Was this pick made because the Indianapolis Colts do not believe they will be able to pay T.Y. Hilton when the 2012 draft class extensions come along?
Bowen: Chase, I don't think that's the case at all. Look, free agency can bring about surprises everywhere but Jim Irsay made it clear at the League Meetings in March that Hilton (along with the other 2012 class skill guys) is a priority in a contract year. I would not read into this pick being any sort of "replacement/contingency plan" in case Hilton bolts in free agency. The Colts took Dorsett because he was the best player available and they feel he, along with Hilton, can significantly enhance the pressure put on defensive backfields.
Dave H (Sebring, FL)
DO YOU THINK THE COLTS WILL SIGN ANOTHER KICKER? SO FAR, THEY HAVE HAD 2 GOOD ONES GET AWAY. AND THEY BOTH ARE DOING WELL WITH THERE TEAMS. I KNOW, ADAM IS GOOD KICKER. BUT OVER THE YEARS , HE HAS STRUGGLED A LITTLE WITH DISTANCE KICKS! AND MAYBE HE MIGHT THINK OF RETIRING FROM THE GAME. I KNOW WE LOVE THE GAME BUT FATHER TIME CATCHES US ALL!!!
Bowen: Vinatieri might be getting up there in age but he's not struggling in the distance department. I believe the kickers you are referring to above are Brandon McManus (Denver) and Cody Parkey (Philadelphia), two guys who were with the Colts the last two Training Camp. The Colts obviously didn't have room for them on their active roster at final cut downs, hence why they moved on. However, in terms of distance, and frankly accuracy, Vinatieri is still flawless. He was 10-of-11 from at least 40 yards last season, where as Parkey was 8-of-10 and McManus was 2-of-5. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Colts bring in another kicker at some point this offseason, but let's not write Vinatieri off.
Jack Thomas (Lafayette, IN)
Who will replace Reggie Wayne ?
P.S GO COLTS!!!!!!!!!
Bowen: Well Jack, I don't think that answer is just one player. The Colts have brought in two specific receivers with far different skill sets this offseason. Andre Johnson was the first move and he brings a big-bodied frame to a wideout group that hasn't really had someone of that size in a long time. The Colts then drafted another Miami product last week in Phillip Dorsett. While Johnson has the body, Dorsett has the speed. Dorsett gives the Colts another player in the mold of T.Y. Hilton to stress opposing defenses. The combination of Johnson and Dorsett, along with even more playing time for Donte Moncrief will be the three primary options in trying to "replace" the Hall of Fame caliber player in Wayne.
Nate Abebe (Columbus, Ohio)
Hi, Mr. Kevin.. Big colts fan here! Did the colts already made up their mind on who will start the nose tackle position. I think Zach Kerr is a fantastic option and should get a chance to start at least.
Bowen: Nate, I don't see the starting nose tackle position being written in sharpie this early in the offseason by any means. Josh Chapman is the returning starter and you also bring back Montori Hughes, who was the primary backup in 2014. Yes, Zach Kerr showed more than a few flashes as a rookie, and lined up at several spots in his rookie season last year. You can add fifth-round pick David Parry's name to this mix as well. The Colts will have plenty of competition at nose tackle this offseason with guys like Hughes, Kerr and Parry having the ability to play at other spots up front. I'm really intrigued to see what Kerr can show in 2015 with plenty of reps to be had.
Matt Catron (Indianapolis)
now the schedules is out. for the last 3 preseason home opener the colts has wear white jersey. is there any word about wearing white jersey again at home in preseason?
Bowen: Matt, typically those types of decisions aren't made until later in the offseason. The Colts have worn their white jerseys at home in each of the last three preseason (2012 vs. the Rams, 2013 vs. the Bills and 2014 vs. the Giants). Based off that, I would expect the team to wear them again in 2015, with the options being an 8/22 matchup vs. the Bears (the home opener like you mentioned), or 9/03 vs. the Bengals.