INDIANAPOLIS – It's pretty much a foregone conclusion the steak will extend to 19 years.
For 18 straight years, the Colts have had at least one rookie undrafted free agent make their Week One roster.
That streak is all but expected to reach 19 years here in 2017, with the Colts preparing long snapper Thomas Hennessy (Duke) for the vacant starting job, after Matt Overton's release last week.
Last year, the Colts had four rookie undrafted free agents on the Week One roster: S-Matthias Farley(Notre Dame), RB-Josh Ferguson(Illinois), OLB-Curt Maggitt(Tennessee) and WR-Chester Rogers(Grambling State).
Who could join them in 2017, besides Hennessey?
On SIRIUS radio last week, Chris Ballard highlighted RB-Dalton Crossan (New Hampshire), TE-Darrell Daniels (Washington) and CB-Reggie Porter (Utah) as undrafted guys to keep an eye on.
How important are undrafted free agents to Ballard?
After the draft concluded in late April, the Colts only had room for seven undrafted free agents.
Ballard then cleared quite a bit of space by parting ways with 11 Colts, allowing for 18 UDFAs to come in 2017.
"The undrafted guys are, in my mind, no different than a draft pick," Ballard says. 'They're going to get the same opportunity, and if they win the job, then we'll move on from the other guy.
"You can't preach competition and not live it. Last year in Kansas City, we cut our third-round pick (CB-KeiVarae Russell) for a sixth-round corner (CB-D.J. White) that we drafted. You can't be scared to preach competition and not live it because I promise you the locker room knows. They know who deserves to make it and who doesn't deserve to make it."
Positions to watch in the undrafted class include tight end, linebacker and cornerback.
The UDFAs, along with the draft picks, will participate in the team's three-day rookie minicamp Friday-Sunday.
When Monday arrives, the rookies will join the veterans for the rest of the team's offseason program.
It's the first evaluation stage this staff will have extending through Training Camp, four preseason games and the final cut to 53 players in early September.
From player No. 1 to No. 90, Ballard will be watching.
"We don't have camp bodies," Ballard says. "In my mind, there's no such thing as a camp body. If they're not good enough to make us better, then we need to find somebody better that can upgrade that spot."
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