QB: Andrew Luck, Matthew Hasselbeck (2)
I think the Colts will keep Chandler Harnish around on the practice squad another year, but they aren’t going to dress him for any games unless they absolutely have to. I think there’s a strong chance they’ll keep just Andrew Luck and Matthew Hasselbeck on the active roster unless one of them gets hurt. Like I said though, keep an eye out for Harnish on the practice squad.
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard, Donald Brown, Kerwynn Williams (4)
In this RB prediction, the Colts cut Delone Carter. I think the writing is on the wall for the 2011 fourth round pick, who really needs to prove himself to other teams this pre-season. Carter is too similar a back to Vick Ballard, and has been much more injury prone and less effective so far in his career. I think the Colts will keep Donald Brown around, though, as well as return specialist Kerwynn Williams, a seventh round pick in 2013.
FB: Stanley Havili (1)
The fullback is going to be a key piece of Pep Hamilton’s new WCO with the Colts. Havili might not carry the ball a ton, but he’ll be a valuable receiver out of the backfield on occasion, and will play a very unheralded role in the Colts’ offensive success this season.
WR: Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey, T.Y. Hilton, Nathan Palmer, Griff Whalen (5)
There are a few things to look out for here. #1 is the fact that LaVon Brazill will be brought back after his suspension, which could cause either Nathan Palmer or Griff Whalen’s roster spots to be in jeopardy. The Colts will likely keep five receivers on their roster this season, and to be honest they might look around at some players who hit the waiver wire. I don’t think anyone other than the top three on this list are guaranteed anything.
TE: Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Justice Cunningham (3)
As with the WR position, the Colts could scour the waiver wire in the pre-season for another fit at the TE position since they will so often use two TE sets and flex Fleener/Allen to other positions. I think the release of Weslye Saunders is good news for seventh rounder Justice Cunningham, who is competing for a roster spot but has the backing of the front office.
OT: Anthony Castonzo, Gosder Cherilus, Ben Ijalana, Jeff Linkenbach (4)
The Colts could choose to cut loose one of Ijalana or Linkenbach, and if that’s the case, I’d say it’s Linkenbach but Ijalana has a chance to be a surprise cut this offseason. Both guys COULD play guard, though Linkenbach has seen time at guard for the Colts in his career. His versatility and experience could get him a roster spot.
OG: Donald Thomas, Mike McGlynn, Hugh Thornton, Joe Reitz (4)
It’s hard to believe the Colts could keep 10 offensive linemen, but that could very well be the case. They had a lot of guys get good experience last year, so it’d be tough for them to cut loose a guy like Joe Reitz unless he completely stinks up the pre-season. You have to have good depth up front.
C: Samson Satele, Khaled Holmes (2) — 26 total on offense
These two guys are battling for a starting job, but I don’t think they’re battling for just one roster spot. They should both be on the final roster but if Holmes ends up starting, don’t be shocked if Satele is cut loose.
DL: Cory Redding, Ricky Jean-Francois, Josh Chapman, Aubrayo Franklin, Fili Moala, Drake Nevis, Montori Hughes (7)
This is a tough group to pick from, because the Colts have a lot of guys who can contribute. I think they’d have a nice DE rotation with Cory Redding, Ricky Jean-Francois, Fili Moala, and Drake Nevis, and a good nose tackle rotation of Josh Chapman and Aubrayo Franklin. They may try to sneak fifth round pick Montori Hughes onto the practice squad, but he could have an uphill battle in front of him. He is a mountain of a man with a ton of talent, and his ability to play DE or NT in this defense could earn him a roster spot, even if it is a bit much to have seven DL in a 3-4 defensive alignment.
OLB: Robert Mathis, Bjoern Werner, Erik Walden, Lawrence Sidbury (4)
This is a position the Colts have really put up for grabs. I think it’s so interesting what they’ve done this offseason to try and get creative and upgrade the pass rush. They drafted Bjoern Werner in the first round, a great value and a guy who will probably wind up starting. They signed Erik Walden from the Packers at a pretty rich four-year deal. They have a former CFL defensive player of the year in Justin Hickman, and they signed an AFL star in Caesar Rayford. Perhaps most interestingly, they just recently signed Daniel Adongo, a rising international rugby player who has excellent measurables and athletic ability.
In the end, I think Lawrence Sidbury has the most talent of the aforementioned players, but that doesn’t mean the Colts won’t try to stash a guy or two on their practice squad, since they had some injuries here last year.
ILB: Pat Angerer, Jerrell Freeman, Kelvin Sheppard, Kavell Conner (4)
Of any position on the roster, this one is the most solidified other than QB in my opinion.
CB: Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, Darius Butler, Cassius Vaughn, Josh Gordy (5)
Hard to pick a 5th corner here, and the Colts could once again be a team to watch at the waiver wire or maybe a little sneaky trade in there. Darius Butler was picked off waivers and wound up playing a big role for them last year. Cassius Vaughn is an improving player who can be a special teams ace. Josh Gordy saw some playing time, but it remains to be seen if the Colts are really sold on their depth here.
S: LaRon Landry, Antoine Bethea, Joe Lefeged, John Boyett (4)
The Colts don’t have great depth at safety with Joe Lefeged’s legal situation playing out. John Boyett is starting off his NFL career on the Non-Football Injury/Reserve list, so we’ll see if he’s even healthy enough by the start of the regular season to make the active roster. There could be some relative unknown players who make the final roster here.
ST: Adam Vinatieri, Pat McAfee, Matt Overton (3)
These guys are all set here as well, barring injury.