3 cut candidates on the Colts’ roster bubble entering 2021 training camp
The Indianapolis Colts finished the 2020 regular season with an 11-5 record to nab the second spot in the AFC South. Unfortunately, they narrowly lost to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round to get eliminated out of the playoffs.
Heading to the 2021 NFL season, veteran quarterback Philip Rivers has already retired after 17 seasons in the league. The Colts eventually found his replacement in Carson Wentz who is aiming to redeem himself in Indianapolis after a rocky stint with the Philadelphia Eagles. With a new quarterback at the helm, the team will have to make decisions as they figure out which pieces can complement him the best to make a deeper playoff run next season.
Here are the three players that could get cut prior to the 2021 NFL season:
The 2018 Colts draftee in running back Jordan Wilkins starts off this list as one of the players who may find themselves in danger of being cut from the team’s roster. A younger Jonathan Taylor has already emerged as the undoubted leader of the Colts’ rushing group after he finished third in the league with 1,169 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Another promising ball-carrier in Nyheim Hines comes in second in the depth chart after tallying career-best numbers in every major statistical category last season. Meanwhile, veteran running back Marlon Mack is still in the mix after he was retained on a one-year contract after completing a successful Achilles surgery which kept him out for the most part of their 2020 campaign.
Basically, Wilkins’ purpose in camp is to step in if any of his peers get injured during offseason preparations. If all of them enter the season in the pink of health, then the 26-year-old might potentially have to look for a new home elsewhere. Certainly enough, an impressive showing in training camp could be the only key for Wilkins to successfully stay in Indianapolis in 2021.
The Colts previously had high expectations for defensive end Ben Banogu as he was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the TCU product struggled all throughout his rookie season which eventually carried over to his sophomore campaign in 2020.
Banogu only tallied meager numbers of six combined tackles without a sack recorded in nine games played. The limited action that he saw on the field wasn’t due to any injuries but was only caused by his regression in the team’s depth chart.
After seeing Banogu’s performance in his first two seasons, the Colts took matters into their own hands as they sought more young pass rushers in the 2020 NFL Draft. They selected a Michigan talent in Kwity Paye with the 21st pick along with Vanderbilt product Dayo Odeyingbo with the 54th pick to bolster their defensive line.
The arrival of the two rookies could potentially mean that Ben Banogu’s days with the Colts are already numbered. Much like Wilkins, him being able to outperform his peers in camp could be his only saving grace in a bid to make it to the team’s final roster.
Veteran TE Jack Doyle may be the Colts’ top tight end but he might end up being the odd man out too. Looking back, it can’t be denied that he had a couple of above-average seasons in 2017 and 2019 but Doyle’s production has evidently dipped last year. In 14 games played, he only notched 251 receiving yards on 23 catches to go with three touchdowns for the Colts.
Those numbers are definitely not what a team would want from their top tight end and his struggling performance in 2020 wouldn’t justify the $6 million that he is set to earn next season. Instead, the Colts would be wise to cut him and give more opportunities for the younger tight ends on their roster instead.
Their backup tight end in Mo Alie-Cox had a better campaign than Doyle as he racked up a total of 394 receiving yards on 34 touches and two touchdowns in 15 games last season. The Colts also acquired rookie Kylen Granson out of SMU with the 127th pick and is projected to serve as a contributor for the team next season.
With a couple of youthful players at the helm, Indianapolis can already part ways with Jack Doyle which may even help them save around $4 million that they can use to acquire better talents instead.