INDIANAPOLIS –Training camp has started for the rookies of the Indianapolis Colts.
Rookies reported to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Monday for the start of their first season of professional football. Veterans will join them Saturday morning.
When the Colts selected six defenders with their eight draft picks back in April, it marked a major shift in how the future of the defense would look going forward.
With the offseason program in the rearview mirror, here's a projection at how much playing time the 2017 draft picks could be looking at this fall:
- Safety Malik Hooker (1st Round, 15th Overall):As long as Hooker is 100 percent early in camp, he should have enough reps to slide into the opening day starting lineup. Hooker's playmaking is too good, and too needed, to keep off the field. The Colts had eight interceptions in 16 games last season. Hooker had seven picks in 13 games last year at Ohio State.
- Cornerback Quincy Wilson (2nd Round, 46th Overall):This one is probably the most up in the air of any rookie. Wilson could be a starter, if he beats out Rashaan Melvin. But he also might be further down the depth chart, based off what we saw in the spring. With how Wilson was trending late in the spring, he still has a good chance to find himself in the starting lineup.
- Defensive End Tarell Basham (3rd Round, 80th Overall):Listed as a defensive end on the roster, Basham was mainly a reserve outside linebacker during the offseason program. Look for Basham to begin his rookie season backing up Jabaal Sheard and John Simon at outside linebacker. If Basham can show any consistent pass rush ability, a third-down role could definitely be coming.
- Offensive Tackle Zach Banner (4th Round, 137th Overall):The Colts will not need Banner to start from Day One. Banner's primary focus as a rookie should be re-shaping his body into a mold the Colts believe will be successful at the professional level. A rookie season as a backup lineman is probably in store for Banner. But with injuries prevalent in the offensive trenches, you never know how things will develop for the USC All-American.
- Running Back Marlon Mack (4th Round, 143rd Overall):Mack is looking up at Frank Gore and Robert Turbin on the running back depth chart. That doesn't mean 2017 playing time will be absent for Mack. Involving a third running back into a weekly game plan can be in the works for offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, especially for a player with Mack's skillset. Could a sprinkled in role for Mack be his early introduction to offensive life in the NFL?
- Defensive Tackle Grover Stewart (4th Round, 144th Overall):It's a really crowded defensive line for the Colts in 2017. On paper, the Colts probably do not need much from Stewart. But if the rookie shows promise, he could certainly help at a variety of positions. Remember, Stewart is making the jump from Division II Albany State.
- Cornerback Nate Hairston (5th Round, 158th Overall):During the spring offseason program, Hairston was mostly running with the second or third team. Hairston is still relatively young to the cornerback position, and that could lead to more of a special teams emphasis for him in 2017. There are reps to be had though at corner and hardly any locked in positions on the depth chart right now.
- Inside Linebacker Anthony Walker (5tht Round, 161st Overall):Of all the draft picks later than Round Three for the Colts, Walker has the best chance at starting. Now, Walker still has to climb his way through several bodies before he enters the staring lineup. The Colts love Walker's leadership, but it's still a lot to ask for a rookie to start at inside linebacker. A reserve role is probably more likely for Walker in 2017.
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.