Today is cut day in the NFL, as teams must trim their rosters to 53 active players in preparation for real games next week. The Colts will have to make several cuts today, and the feeling around the team is that a handful of former first-round draft picks are in danger of not making the roster. In order of draft year, they are:
Anthony Gonzalez, WR, #32 overall pick in 2007
Donald Brown, RB, #27 overall pick in 2009
Jerry Hughes, DE, #31 overall pick in 2010
My guess is that’s also about the order in which they are likely to be cut. The Colts have generally shown a reluctance to give up on first-rounders, but Gonzalez has given them enough years and early production that it’s hard to label him a bust. The team has also been known to make tough moves based on chronic injury situations, such as releasing safety Bob Sanders earlier this year, and Gonzo just can’t stay on the field.
Brown was supposed to solve the Colts’ short-yardage problems but has shown little interest in taking a hit. He’s kind of like the pediatrician who is grossed out by sick children.
Hughes has done almost nothing since landing in Indy last year, including this preseason, though he did record a sack against the Bengals. With only one full year under his belt, though, he may get a reprieve.
If all three of these guys are on the street by tomorrow, then the Colts will have only Joseph Addai (2006) and Anthony Castonzo (2011) remaining among first-rounders since 2003. That’s an ugly and remarkable record for a franchise with yearly championship aspirations.
Stay tuned for more on the Colts roster as it shapes up.