Indianapolis Colts: Ranking position groups for 2022 – Colts Wire

The Indianapolis Colts are roughly a week away from the start of the regular-season opener against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.
Though the roster will continue to make changes throughout the season, we have a pretty good idea of what the squad will look like going into the new season.
Throughout the offseason and preseason, the Colts made several changes to the roster. They brought in new pieces at quarterback, edge rusher and cornerback while adding some rookies to wide receiver and safety, among other positions.
With Week 1 right around the corner, here’s a ranking of the Colts’ position groups:
AP Photo/Darron Cummings
The Colts are likely to play in nickel most of the time, which means Shaquille Leonard and Bobby Okereke will see the most time on the field. That duo can be as good as any in the NFL if Okereke makes a leap in the final year of his rookie contract. The depth is strong in the room as well with Zaire Franklin and E.J. Speed as the next two in line while the Colts added special teams ace Grant Stuard and impressive undrafted rookie JoJo Domann this year.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Having Jonathan Taylor already makes this one of the strongest backfields in the NFL. But the Colts also have Nyheim Hines as an incredible complement and change-of-pace back. There are some questions with depth given that Deon Jackson is the only other back in the room, but having those two at the top makes this one of the strongest groups on the roster.
AP Photo/Michael Conroy
The Colts should have an upgrade at starting quarterback with Matt Ryan, but they also upgraded their backup position with the addition of Nick Foles. How long Sam Ehlinger remains on the active roster isn’t clear,  but the quarterback position is much more stable than it was a year ago.
AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Having Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly playing next to each other gives the Colts a strong duo on the interior. Danny Pinter will be new starting right guard, and there’s plenty of untapped potential within his game. The depth is solid as well with Will Fries giving strong performances in the preseason while undrafted free agent Wesley French could be a nice sleeper to have on the back-end of the roster.
AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The starting duo of Yannick Ngakoue and Kwity Paye has a lot of potential, especially if Paye takes a Year 2 jump. The depth is strong as well with the versatile edge rushers in Dayo Odeyingbo and Tyquan Lewis. Meanwhile, Ifeadi Odenigbo and Ben Banogu are both coming off of strong performances in the preseason.
AP Photo/Joshua Bessex
Stephon Gilmore looks to be a rock-solid CB1 on the boundary, giving the Colts a massive advantage on one half of the field. Kenny Moore II will reprise his versatile role on both the boundary and the nickel while Brandon Facyson will work opposite Gilmore in nickel packages after winning the job over Isaiah Rodgers Sr., who is still a strong candidate to break out. Undrafted rookie Dallis Flowers is an intriguing depth piece and should contribute on special teams.
AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
With Matt Pryor and Braden Smith as the starting offensive tackles, it will be interesting to see how long that duo remains. Rookie Bernhard Raimann is working as the backup left tackle while the Colts claimed rookie Luke Tenuta from the Buffalo Bills after roster cuts and re-signed veteran Dennis Kelly.
Justin Casterline/Getty Images
If this were a ranking of the starters at each position, the duo of DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart would be much higher. However, the depth behind them is a massive question mark. Rookie Eric Johnson II should work at both interior spots, and he has some upside. Meanwhile, the only other depth piece is Byron Cowart, who had an up-and-down preseason.
AP Photo/Zach Bolinger
We should expect some growing pains with rookie Nick Cross, but his upside is incredibly high. When clicking on all cylinders, the duo of Cross and Julian Blackmon could be lethal. Having Rodney McLeod as the third safety is strong depth while rookie Rodney Thomas II has intriguing upside. Undrafted rookie Trevor Denbow made the roster but is on the injured reserve list, and the Colts believe he can be a strong addition to special teams.
Justin Casterline/Getty Images
This ranking is pretty low mostly because of the unknown. Michael Pittman Jr. is a bonafide stud and should make another leap in Year 3. Parris Campbell has to stay healthy, but if he does, it could mean great things for the offense. Rookie Alec Pierce will serve as the WR3 while Ashton Dulin is fourth in line. I’m intrigued to see how this group will look by the end of the year because there is promise here.
AP Photo/Michael Conroy
All eyes are on Mo Alie-Cox at this position as he takes over for longtime starter Jack Doyle, who retired this offseason. Second-year Kylen Granson should have a decent role as the H-back while rookie Jelani Woods is likely a year away from truly contributing.
AP Photo/Zach Bolinger
Long snapper Luke Rhodes is coming off of a Pro Bowl season and should continue to be one of the top players at his position. While Rodrigo Blankenship won the kicking battle for the third consecutive year, he has a lot to prove. Matt Haack had a strong showing in his only preseason game following the season-ending injury to starting punter Rigoberto Sanchez.
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Taking a look at the Week 1 snap counts for the Colts.
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