The 2024 Indianapolis Colts roster is a strong group that should be able to compete for a playoff spot despite being in the getting-tougher-by-the-day AFC South. While the team’s ultimate success or failure likely rests on the (hopefully fully healed) shoulders of quarterback Anthony Richardson, there are several hidden gems on the 2024 Colts roster who will help get the best out of the young QB. Players like Anthony Gould and Jelani Woods are two to watch, as is the honorable mention hidden gem at the end.

Anthony Gould is the sleeper rookie to watch

Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Anthony Gould (2) catches a pass during the second half against Oregon Ducks defensive back Evan Williams (33) at Autzen Stadium.
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

With a young quarterback, it makes sense for franchises to draft young, talented wide receivers to help support him. The Colts have done that the last two seasons for Richardson, taking Josh Downs in the third round in 2023 and former Texas WR Adonai Mitchell in Round 2 this year.

A pick that flew a little more under-the-radar, though was 2024’s fifth-round selection, former Oregon State wideout Anthony Gould.

The reason Gould went in Round 5 is that he is tiny by NFL standards. The Kansas native is 5-foot-8, 174 pounds. That puts him among the smallest NFL players in the league right now (although he towers over the 5-foot-6 Deontae Harty and Deuce Vaughn).

What Gould lacks in stature, though, he makes up for with blazing wheels.

The former Beaver ran a 4.39-second 40 at the combine and that speed shows up on tape combined with elite shiftiness and change-of-direction. That’s how he racked up 95 total touches for 1,442 yards and seven touchdowns on offense at Oregon State.

And while Gould has a real chance to make it on the Colts roster as a slot receiver/gadget player, his real value may come on special teams. Gould had 26 punt returns for 423 yards and two touchdowns in college. He didn’t return kicks, but with the new NFL kickoff rules, he could be valuable there as well.

Anthony Gould won’t catch your eye coming off the bus like his 6-foot-2, 205-pound rookie counterpart, Mitchell, but on the field, he could turn some heads.

Jelani Woods is the player on the 2024 Colts roster who will make the leap

From one of the smallest players on offense to one of the biggest, let’s slide a little further inside and talk about 6-foot-7, 253-pound tight end Jelani Woods.

Woods was a third-round pick in 2022 who had a solid rookie season with 25 catches for 312 yards and three touchdowns. However, nagging injuries to both hamstrings cost him his entire 2023 season.

If Woods can come back healthy this season, he has a real chance to become a favorite target of Anthony Richardson.

The Georgia native was a top quarterback recruit coming out of high school and went to Oklahoma State as a signal-caller. A move to tight end followed, as did a transfer to Virginia. With the Cavaliers, he had a breakout season, catching 44 balls for 598 yards and eight touchdowns.

Woods has all the tools to become a top tight end in the league and, at worst, a dominant red zone target. If he can stay healthy, there’s a chance he makes a big jump this season.

Missing time with multiple hamstring injuries is problematic, especially for a person his size, but if he and the Colts medical staff can take care of that, watch out for Jelani Woods this season.

Honorable mention: Joe Flacco

In the end, the NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and if a team’s starter goes down it usually doesn’t have much of a chance. Unless, that is, the backup quarterback is Joe Flacco.

Last season, Flacco went from tossing balls to his brother and his dad in a park in his hometown to leading the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs when Deshaun Watson went down. Since the Browns are paying Watson $230 million guaranteed, though, they decided not to keep Flacco around to protect their fragile star.

The Browns’ loss was the Colts' gain, as they now have one of the best backup QB situations in the league. And let’s face it, they may need it.

It’s still an incredibly small sample size, but heading into the 2024 Colts campaign, there is no evidence that Richardson can stay healthy for an entire NFL season. By Week 6 last year, he had already missed a game-and-a-half with a concussion and was out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Maybe last season was a fluke, and Richardson will become the Iron Man he looks like at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds. But if not, with the talent on the Colts roster this season, it’s comforting for Indy fans to know they have ol’ Joe Flacco waiting in the wings.