Colts 2020 Offseason Needs: Post-Free Agency Frenzy

The first big wave of NFL free agency has come and past, and we are less than a month away from the 2020 NFL Draft, so now it's time to reexamine the Indianapolis Colts' primary roster needs.

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INDIANAPOLIS — We've officially reached the awkward spot of the NFL offseason.

The Scouting Combine has come and gone, as has the start to free agency. Now a couple weeks removed, the frenzy that is the beginning of free agency has past, and left are a couple of the blue-chip players who are holding out for the best deals, and the role players looking for the best situations.

The Indianapolis Colts have been pretty active since the new league year began, trading the No. 13-overall pick for All-Pro defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, signing a new quarterback in eight-time Pro Bowler Philip Rivers as well as an All-Pro cornerback in Xavier Rhodes, and also continuing to fortify the defensive interior with another free agent in Sheldon Day.

It's safe to say that some of their roster needs have changed since the last time we checked.

With the big deals the Colts have made in free agency and trading away their first-round pick, the moves they make from here on out are likely to be more modest. However, they still have some spending money, and they still have two picks in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft at No. 34 and 44.

Here is what could be considered the Colts' top three areas still to be addressed, listed in depth chart order.

PASSING GAME UPGRADES

Under contract in 2020:

  • QB — Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Chad Kelly | WR — T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, Steve Ishmael, Chad Williams, Artavis Scott, Malik Henry, Rodney Adams | TE — Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, Xavier Grimble, Billy Brown, Ian Bunting, Matt Lengel

2020 free agents:

  • QB — None | WR — Devin Funchess (signing with Green Bay Packers), Dontrelle Inman (UFA), Chester Rogers (UFA), Marcus Johnson (RFA), Daurice Fountain (ERFA) | TE — Eric Ebron (signing with Pittsburgh Steelers)

Players that could fit the Colts in free agency:

  • QB — N/A | WR — Geronimo Allison (Green Bay Packers), Rashard Higgins (Cleveland Browns), Paul Richardson (Washington Redskins) | TE — Charles Clay (Arizona Cardinals), Luke Stocker (Atlanta Falcons), Delanie Walker (Tennessee Titans)

Players that could fit the Colts early in the draft:

  • QB — Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm, Anthony Gordon, Jalen Hurts, Jordan Love | WR — Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Laviska Shenault Jr., Denzel Mims | TE — Harrison Bryant, Hunter Bryant, Brycen Hopkins, Cole Kmet, Adam Trautman

The Colts acquired one huge piece in the passing game recently when they signed eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers, who parted ways with the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason after 16 years. However, at 38 years old, his future is now on a year-by-year basis, so we may see the Colts attempt to draft their quarterback of the future and groom them behind Rivers. What that means for Jacoby Brissett's status in Indy is yet to be seen.

The Colts' passing offense finished third from the bottom overall in 2019 after averaging just 194.2 yards per game, and they had poor marks in several other passing-game categories as well.

While there were several injuries — from the quarterback to the receivers to the tight ends — you still have to be able to perform under those circumstances and be prepared for injuries. That's where the depth comes into play.

The Colts have lost some starters and depth this offseason with Devin Funchess and Eric Ebron signing elsewhere, but they luckily still have their top three receivers and top two tight ends in place, so nothing drastic has to be done at this time.

With top receiver T.Y. Hilton turning 31 years old this season, it may be a wise decision to find a player in this historically deep draft class of receivers to be an eventual No. 1 or No. 2 option.

OFFENSIVE LINE DEPTH

Under contract in 2020:

  • OT — Anthony Castonzo, Braden Smith, Le'Raven Clark, Andrew Donnal, Cedrick Lang, Brandon Hitner, Travis Vornkahl | IOL — Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski, Jake Eldrenkamp, Javon Patterson, Chaz Green

2020 free agents:

  • OT — None | IOL — Josh Andrews (signing with New York Jets), Joe Haeg (signing with Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Players that could fit the Colts in free agency:

  • G/T James Hurst (Baltimore Ravens), IOL Josh Kline (Minnesota Vikings), IOL Mike Person (San Francisco 49ers), IOL Michael Schofield (Los Angeles Chargers)

Players that could fit the Colts early in the draft:

  • OT — Hakeem Adeniji, Robert Hunt, Austin Jackson, Lucas Niang, Prince Tego Wanogho | IOL — Tyler Biadasz, Ben Bredeson, Kevin Dotson, Jonah Jackson, Cesar Ruiz

The Colts re-signed free agent offensive tackles Anthony Castonzo and Le'Raven Clark this offseason, which is a significant item to cross off their to-do list, but they did lose their most versatile offensive lineman in free agency: Joe Haeg.

Including the preseason, we've seen Haeg play all five offensive line positions in his time with the Colts, so losing a player like him leaves a void.

Another big factor to take into account is that, like Rivers, Castonzo's future is also likely now on a year-by-year basis, although he did reportedly sign a two-year contract. With how critical of a position left tackle is, we may see the Colts attempt to find one of the highly-talented tackle prospects in the upcoming draft, or bring in a free agent to compete with Clark for that ever-important swing tackle position.

DEFENSIVE END

Under contract in 2020:

  • Justin Houston, Kemoko Turay, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Ben Banogu, Gerri Green, Jegs Jegede

2020 free agents:

  • Jabaal Sheard (UFA)

Players that could fit the Colts in free agency:

  • Vinny Curry (Philadelphia Eagles), Markus Golden (New York Giants), Dion Jordan (Oakland Raiders), Benson Mayowa (Oakland Raiders), Pernell McPhee (Baltimore Ravens)

Players that could fit the Colts early in the draft:

  • Julian Okwara, Khalid Kareem, Terrell Lewis, Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche

The Colts no longer have needs to fortify the depth along the whole defensive line after making a couple of big moves at defensive tackle. However, they could use a little bit of reinforcement at defensive end still.

They finished tied for 15th in sacks last season with 41. While that's not a bad number, they'd like to finish higher than middle of the pack. The coaches and front office all also agree that they'd like to have their defensive line deep enough to where both the first and second wave of players are starting-caliber so that their pass rush never wains.

Their starting strong-side edge defender for the past three seasons, Jabaal Sheard, is currently an unsigned free agent, so they'll need to either make sure they already have a player or can acquire one who is capable of providing his consistent pass rush and edge-setting ability in the run game.

The Colts' current top edge rusher, Justin Houston, will be 32 following the regular season, so they'll need to begin considering the next generation of pass rushers to pair with Kemoko Turay and Ben Banogu. Luckily, this draft class has quality edge defenders into Day 3 who could fit the bill.

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