Colts Offseason Needs: Post-2019 NFL Draft

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rear-view mirror, all of the major NFL offseason events are checked off of the list.

While free agency is a 365-day-per-year endeavor, the first major annual waves of it are gone as well.

With that said, the Indianapolis Colts had some roster holes to address this offseason. How did they do?

Looking at the lineup, they actually do not have many of those same needs that they had throughout the offseason. In fact, it was difficult to find much that they needed in 2019, so most of this article is focused on things they may need for the future.

(Players with an asterisk were undrafted college free agents signed by the Colts on Friday; their contract details were immediately unavailable.)

BACKUP QUARTERBACK

Under contract in 2019:

  • Andrew Luck (starter), Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Walker

2020 free agents:

  • Jacoby Brissett

Offseason additions:

  • Phillip Walker (re-signed from practice squad)

It's no secret how strongly the Colts feel about Jacoby Brissett. He helped the team survive the 2017 season and has developed into one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL in his two years in Indianapolis. Colts general manager Chris Ballard once joked that the importance of having a good backup quarterback means that he can sleep better at night.

However, Brissett is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season, and he has said that he'd like the opportunity to start. If Brissett does depart Indianapolis in 2020 for an opportunity elsewhere, then the Colts will need to make sure they have that security blanket in the event starting quarterback Andrew Luck is ever sidelined with injury.

Third quarterback Phillip Walker grew tremendously between his rookie season in 2017 and his second year in 2018. Putting it on display in the preseason, he moved the offense well and showed good chemistry with his weapons. Regardless, at the very least one would believe someone will likely need to be brought in to compete with Walker for the backup job.

TIGHT END

Under contract in 2019:

  • Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Mo Alie-Cox, Ross Travis, Billy Brown, Gabe Holmes, Hale Hentges*

2020 free agents:

  • Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Mo Alie-Cox, Ross Travis, Gabe Holmes

Offseason additions:

  • Billy Brown (re-signed from practice squad), Gabe Holmes

That's a pretty loaded group of tight ends (the best in the league, in fact) until you look and see that every one of them except for Billy Brown is due to become a free agent in 2020. While some of them may be re-signed, the reality of life in the NFL is that your roster never looks the same, year to year.

If the Colts are unable to bring back both Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron then it means losing two Pro Bowl tight ends as well as major safety valves for Luck.

The tight end position thrived for the Colts in 2018 under Luck, head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni. As a group, the Colts' tight ends led all other NFL tight end rooms in touchdowns (22). That accounted for more than 56 percent of Luck's 39 touchdown passes on the season.

A realistic approach would be to add a quality piece or two to the position within the next 12 months, while continuing to chip away at possible new contracts for Doyle and Ebron. The good news is that players like Mo Alie-Cox and Ross Travis have loads of potential and could develop into starting-level players, too.

DEFENSIVE END

Under contract in 2019:

  • Justin Houston, Jabaal Sheard, Kemoko Turay, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Gerri Green, Carroll Phillips, Anthony Winbush, Jegs Jegede*

2020 free agents:

  • Jabaal Sheard, Carroll Phillips

Offseason additions:

  • Justin Houston, Gerri Green, Anthony Winbush (re-signed from practice squad)

The Colts have a pair of proven veterans on top of the depth chart in Jabaal Sheard and Justin Houston, plus Kemoko Turay should be expected to make a sophomore jump. The Colts also have Denico Autry, Margus Hunt and Tyquan Lewis who can move outside from tackle, and rookie Ben Banogu is also expected to contribute as a pass rusher. However, there are a couple of potential issues in the future with both age and free agency.

Houston is 30, Sheard is about to turn 30, and Hunt will be 32 in July. Sheard, Houston, Hunt, Autry and Al-Quadin Muhammad will all be due to hit free agency within the next two years as well.

Edge rusher is a position you can never have too many of, so if it looks like you're getting low on bodies then it's a good time to fortify the group. By this time next year, we could see a couple new faces at defensive end for the Colts. The Colts will also look to improve on their 19th-place finish they had in 2018 with 38 sacks.

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