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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Where Will T.J. Green Fit In The Colts Defense?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about where the Colts will find a pass rush in 2016, a young running back option behind Frank Gore and the team’s undrafted free agents.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday or Saturday mailbag.

Here is the collection of Wednesday questions:Martin G. (Topolcany, Slovakia)

Hi Kevin,

thank you for your answers. Big fan from Europe. I watch Draft and I am very happy about it. Starting the draft with 6 picks but ended with 8 picks was great. I believe that Colts found many starters in this year´s draft class. My question for you is: "Can you explain to me how it is with undrafted players? Will Colts invite few of them to their camp a perhaps find there a few quality players?" I wish you great day and good luck with your work.

Bowen: Martin, the Colts have 21 undrafted free agents this year. Here's a look at those guys. As long as they remain on the roster, they will be invited to Training Camp and participate in the preseason. The first cut down comes right before the final preseason game (cut from 90 to 75 players). Then the final cut comes after the end of the preseason (75 players to 53).

Scott A. (Illinois)

Hi Kevin,

First off, what a really great draft!!! Everybody talks about the new/better protection for Luck, but I bet Gore is really salivating from the prospects they're bringing in for the OLine! What a great year to fortify the trenches.

Would the thought of the Colts be utilizing T.J. Green as a hybrid LB or a coverage DB? Were the Colts planning to draft Noah Spence in the 2nd round if T.B. hadn't grabbed him?

Thanks for answering our questions,

Scott

Bowen: I'm very interested to see how the Colts utilize T.J. Green in his rookie season. He's so raw and really hasn't played too much safety (just two years of it in college). That makes me think the Colts will put him at safety and groom him there. I do think he could play a similar package to what Clayton Geathers was exposed to as a rookie. On passing downs, having Green on the field as an extra defensive back would give the Colts a body type/player to matchup with tight ends/multiple receiver looks. I'm not sure on Spence, but the Colts made it pretty clear they wanted T.J. Green in the second round (nervously waiting after they traded down).

Michelle M. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hi Kevin... First, let me say I love the Ryan Kelly pick. From what I read, he has character and poise about him and I know he will fit right in. I know you are going to get many questions about pass rush since we really didn't address that area in the draft. But the reason I am writing is because I want to know how Art Jones is coming along?? Do you think he will be ready for our first regular game? If he can play all season and stay healthy that helps our defense tremendously. Thank you.

Bowen: We haven't had a specific Arthur Jones' injury update. That will likely come in a few weeks when the Colts start OTAs. Chuck Pagano is meeting the media this weekend, so it could come then. Jones (ankle injury last August) and Henery Anderson (torn ACL last November) will be the two injuries to watch as the offseason unfolds.

Marissa M. (Tampa, FL)

Kevin- thanks for answering all our questions and I'm sure you will have a bunch after this draft- I have 2 short and fairly simple questions.

With our 1 of 2 of our biggest need being at Pass rusher- and the colts not drafting a single player at OLB after round 5, what is the colts thought process here? It doesn't make sense to us fans (as I have seen on blogs and boards all across the Internet) ?? Can you please explain?

Also I'm not sure why they haven't drafted a RB to bring up behind frank gore? (Through round 5) Can you you explain?

Bowen: I go more in-depth on the pass rushing/draft situation in this article. Basically, the Colts didn't want to take an edge guy just to take one. They like what they might have found in their undrafted class there, too. They will lean again on Robert Mathis, who could easily be a double-digit sack guy now that he's two years removed from his Achilles' injury. Also, look below for a more in-depth answer on the running backs/Gore.

Kyle T. (Anderson)

Hi kevin I'm a big fan of the colts and you. My question is why we drafted a safety instead of a DL or linebacker and since we did get a safety outcome not Von Bell?

Bowen: Kyle, the Colts drafted every level of their defense in 2016: safety T.J. Green, defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, outside linebacker Trevor Bates and inside linebacker Antonio Morrison. It's clear the Colts loved the size and speed that Green brings to the safety position.

Don W. (Indianapolis)

Great Job Kevin on the Mailbag!! thought we might have reached a bit on Kelly but may not have been able to have found a trade partner to trade down with. as a whole that we did well in the draft. I think Green is a good pick up and I see them using him the same way they used Geathers last year in situational downs. The best pick up though I think they got though is in there undrafted free agents and that's Curt Maggitt. If this Kid can stay healthy and I know that's a big if, this kid is another Robert Mathis!! I know that's putting a lot on a rookie free agent, but this kid has a motor that wont quit, he has an un believable first step, has a uncanny nack at getting to the quarterback, his biggest nock his staying healthy! Your thoughts on the draft and more important or free agent pick ups. thanks again for doing the mailbag!!

Bowen: Tennessee's Curt Maggitt is a name to watch among the Colts 21 undrafted free agents this year. Maggitt only played two games his senior season due to a hip injury. As a junior though, Maggitt had 11.0 sacks and 15.0 tackles for loss. Those are extremely impressive numbers in the SEC. With some vets ahead of Maggitt, he should get plenty of chances this offseason/preseason to make an impression.

Adam H. (New York)

Hi Kevin! Huge fan of your mailbag...thanks for working so hard on it it's a great read...so my question is about the defense this season.

I was wondering what you thought about our defensive line this year...there's a lot of depth certainly with Jones coming back and with our new pick in Ridgeway, but do you think it can stop the top tier offenses in the NFL this year? I think it can and I'm really excited about guys like Anderson and McGill who I think will get some good QB pressure this year....

Thanks again and let's go ColtsNation

Bowen: How much Hassan Ridgeway plays as a rookie is probably the hardest draftee to project. If Arthur Jones and Henry Anderson return to full health, the Colts have a ton of depth up front. We all know how important and productive Kendall Langford was last year. Then you have the depth guys like Zach Kerr, T.Y. McGill, Earl Okine, and, of course, David Parry. For Ridgeway, if he can show an ability to create pressure from the interior he's going to play on passing downs. That would be a good start for the rookie with several proven guys already on the defensive line.

Keenan A. (California)

Now that the draft is behind us can you give us a break down of the expected starting offensive line? Thanks

Bowen: Well, this question has changed a bit in the past week. I think you can feel pretty good about penciling in LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Jack Mewhort and C-Ryan Kelly into your starting lineup. This is where the fun begins. With third-round pick Le'Raven Clark having some potential at guard, he's in the mix at both right side positions. So at right guard you would have Clark, Denzelle Good, Joe Reitz and Hugh Thornton. Then at right tackle, you have Clark, Good, Reitz and even a Joe Haeg option (if the Colts want to allow him to play either tackle spot early on). It's going to be a wild competition on that right side of the line with so many versatile parts. I still believe Reitz has the lead at right tackle considering he was very solid starting there last year. I expect those right side positions to be very fluid during OTAs/minicamp and the early part of Training Camp.

Zack B. (Indianapolis)

Hey Kevin! What a great draft we had!

I have 3 questions for you.

  1. With the Colts getting Le'Raven Clark could he start at right tackle or guard?
  1. Are the Colts looking to use T.j Green at CB or let him learn behind Mike Adams and become one of our safteys of the future?
  1. Could Antonio Morrison be a starter next to Jackson? He is a very skilled guy and im excited for next season!

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Kevin!!!

Bowen: 1. I think Clark is definitely going to be in the mix at those spots to start. Now, Clark could probably use a little more weight and some more development with Joe Philbin and the Colts don't have to have him play from Day One. But I do think Clark will be involved in that right side competition with around a handful of guys. 2. T.J. Green is going to be a safety. Yes, he will learn behind Mike Adams and should eventually join Clayton Geathers as the starting safety duo. 3. The Colts are very high on Antonio Morrison. Jim Irsay said he thinks Morrison can make an early impact. Morrison doesn't have the starting experience obviously of a Nate Irving/Sio Moore, but you can throw the rookie into the mix next to D'Qwell Jackson.

Travis L. (Warsaw, IN)

Hi Kevin. LOVE the articles man you do a great job with this. I look forward to all the new convos, but I just had a question about what we intend on doing for the RB situation. I know we have Gore (and his age, not really a factor for me) he's still A Great Player. My thing im talkin about is for a backup, we need to address a legitimate 2nd starting caliber RB. Praying to football jesus it doesnt...but what if Gore goes down this year? Who else do we have to rely on? Will we make any moves and sign Someone(who's someone)before the season starts?

Bowen: Travis, thanks for reading along. I'm not sure if you saw earlier this offseason but the Colts signed Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman. Turbin has been a quality backup before and Todman helped Pittsburgh out last year in their playoff run. Knock on wood, but Frank Gore is just so durable. He's one of two backs in the league to have not missed one game since 2010. That's remarkable. If you are looking for the future behind Gore, maybe the 2017 draft class (with a loaded running back group) will be the answer.

Evan S. (Indiana)

I was ecstatic to see the Colts pick up Josh Ferguson out of Illinois! I saw him going as high as round four in some mocks. Do you see Ferguson as an option going forward, learning behind Gore? I have seen great things about Ferguson and am excited about his potential. "As an upperclassman, Ferguson was one of the most exciting and underrated players in the nation. He possesses tremendously quick feet, which allow him to easily evade tacklers at all levels of the defense. Ferguson is also a dangerous weapon in the passing game, where he's often a huge mismatch against linebackers in coverage. Overall, Ferguson's versatility and playmaking ability make him an ideal candidate to become a third-down back a the next level." -Jim Vainisi: The Champaign Room SB Nation Can't wait to see this guy on the field at least getting some preseason reps! Thanks for your time! #ColtsNation

Bowen: Count me as someone really looking forward to seeing Josh Ferguson at rookie minicamp and the rest of the offseason. You are spot on with why I am so intrigued. With what he can do out of the backfield and in the open field, Ferguson is just a different type of back for the Colts. It's something Jim Irsay mentioned at the League Meetings in March. Do the Colts have room for a shiftier option behind Frank Gore and company? Ferguson will try to prove that he can be that guy.

Jeff P. (Bristol, CT)

Ok, the draft is over. June 1st is around the corner. 2 part question; 1. Robert Mathis and Darius Butler if cut before June 1st would save the Colts 5 million and 3 million. What is the future of these players? Fyi, I love both and not suggesting they get cut or traded.

  1. Other teams are in the same boat. Any idea of who Griggs thinks might be Cap casualties or who you think might become available? A few examples, Martellus Bennett TE NE and Nick Mangold C Jets. I am not suggesting these players, they are players who fit the criteria of a big cap savings with zero dead money.

Thank you.

Love Reading The Colts Mailbag!

Bowen: I can't see either of those guys being cut. Robert Mathis is the team's best pass rusher. Mathis could have a double-digit sack season in 2016 now that he's two years removed from the Achilles injury. He isn't going anywhere. With Darius Butler, you don't have really any proven depth behind Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson. The Colts didn't draft any cornerbacks, so Butler is still an important piece as the team's current nickel cornerback. I'm not going to get into too much predicting of other team's cap causalities. I'd really have to study other team's rosters, draft picks and cap situations to do that.

Ted H. (Alamogordo, NM)

My question deals with the UDFA's. Since so few of them manage to secure a spot on the final roster or practice squad, what are the "normal" terms? Do they sign contracts? What is the pay scale like? Do they get per diem for meals & lodging? Just trying to find out what life is like for these guys for the next 3 or 4 months. Thanks for the great job you do answering our questions.

Bowen: Undrafted free agents sign three-year deals for the rookie minimum (starting at $450,000). We had a few questions on this subject in the mailbag, so check out this article breaking down the difference between UDFAs/tryout guys. The biggest difference being the guaranteed money, which is minimal for a UDFA.

Dave H. (Sebring, FL)

after players are drafted do we give them there number ,or do they have choice at keeping there same number in college if it's available? so far picks look good!

Bowen: I think it's a mix of both, Dave. Certain number requirements are different though for specific positions in the pro game versus the college game.

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