Nick Foles is a Super Bowl winning quarterback with a lot of experience and Sam Ehlinger has played well in preseason. The team is most likely screwed if Matt Ryan goes down, but Foles does give the team a decent security blanket. This group has good depth.
Nyheim Hines and Philip Lindsay are technically backups, even though a guy like Hines will get a lot of reps as a receiver or in the slot. Like Ryan, if Taylor goes down, the Colts are most likely screwed as they are losing the best running back in the NFL, but a combination of Hines and Lindsay can keep the team afloat.
Michael Pittman is the clear leader of the group and then behind him are a bunch of unknowns. Alec Pierce is a rookie, Parris Campbell is never healthy, and the rest are young inexperienced players. Dulin, Patmon, Coutee and Strachan are all young guys with decent potential (all could become good rotational players), but as of right now, none have proven or stood out in a way that shows that they can become that in 2022.
Even with the injury to Drew Ogletree, this group is relatively strong up and down the depth chart. Mo Alie-Cox has had a lot of great flashes over the last few seasons and looks to be ready to take a bigger step forward as a starter. Behind him are Kylen Granson and Jelani Woods who are both battling for the second most reps at tight end. Woods represents a lot more receiving upside, but Granson has one year on him in the system. Both should be good rotational players and contributors for the Colts this season.
The offensive line is very top heavy. Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith and Ryan Kelly are amongst the best at their position and Matt Pryor has had a very strong summer after finishing last season well. After that, it’s a bunch of unknowns; Danny Pinter has had a good start to the preseason, but is still a relative unknown and we don’t know how he’ll perform against high end NFL talent. Behind those 5 guys are journeyman and rookies. Gone are the days of having Chris Reed, a very capable starter, as your 6th offensive lineman. The Colts are currently stuck with upstart rookie Bernhard Raimann, Will Fries and Dennis Kelly as the next best three. That is a major drop off if any of the starters were to go down. Fries and Raimann have essentially no NFL game experience (Fries has played 22 regular season snaps in his career and Raimann is a rookie). Kelly is entering his 11th year and despite good reliable play in recent years, you have to ask how much he has left in the tank. With this group, you hope that the starters stay healthy.
With guys like Tyquan Lewis, Dayo Odeyingbo and two draft picks just as backups, there’s no need to break down this group any further; it’s one of the strongest units on the team.
If we consider Zaire Franklin a backup since the Colts will mostly be in nickel packages this season (which means only two linebackers), this is arguably one of the 2-3 strongest units on the team. EJ Speed as the 4th linebacker ensures the Colts will be okay if a player like Okereke goes down (they’re screwed no matter what if Leonard can’t play). They also invested in a bunch of young players via the undrafted free agent market with Sterling Weatherford being a name to watch.
The Colts have a very good top four in Gilmore, Moore, Rodgers and Facyson, which shows that they have decent top of the order depth. Beyond Facyson, it gets pretty thin. Anthony Chesley, Marvell Tell, Chris Wilcox and Tony Brown are the next four guys at the position and all have bounced around roster and the practice squad over the last year. If the Colts have to dig for guys past Facyson, they’ll be in big trouble since those four lack experience and don’t have a ton of upside. Only Chesley got reps in 2021. This group is very weak outside of those four.
I personally love the safeties group this season. Blackmon looks like he’s nearly back to 100% and if we consider Nick Cross the leader in the clubhouse to start beside him, that leaves Rodney McCleod and Armani Watts as two players behind him; both are experienced NFLers who will contribute well on special teams but also provide positional versatility if any of the two starters go down. The Colts also have Rodney Thomas who started in the second preseason game and offers some in-the-box ability. You don’t have an Ed Reed on the back-end but the safety group possesses a lot versatility and stability.
The fact that the receiver group doesn’t really have proven starters, let alone reliable backups shows just how weak the depth is but also how weak it is overall outside of Pittman. The potential is definitely there, but as of right now, this is the group with the weakest depth along with being the weakest group overall.