Stock Up, Stock Down for Key Indianapolis Colts Heading into Camp
It seems unreal, but the Indianapolis Colts open training camp in just under two weeks. It's definitely going to be a big change from what we've been used to seeing out of the Colts this time of year.
Usually, the Colts are working on finesse and timing as there's little drama with positions and learning new plays. Most of training camp and preseason isn't as much about wins and losses and making a huge impact, but it was more to get players gelling going into the regular season where results didn't matter.
This season, the Colts are in just the opposite scenario. Literally all the players on the roster have to adjust to a new playbook, new coaches and every position is up for grabs. The Colts are looking for results this camp and preseason to see who can contend for starting spots and can make a 53-man roster.
These are the stock values of the key players entering camp.
Andrew Luck—Stock Up
Andrew Luck obviously has his stock up right now. He's the No. 1 pick and is taking over a new look on the Colts offense. He's been working out with Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie all summer and hopes to have a good feel for his top two receivers.
Another reason his stock is up is he has big tight end targets to bail him out; one of them is college teammate Coby Fleener. Everyone keeps saying how high Luck's potential is so the only way his stock can go is up.
Donald Brown—Stock Up
If anyone is going to have a surprise breakout year it's going to be Donald Brown. He no longer has to worry about a job as Joseph Addai isn't looking over his shoulder. He will be the starter going into camp and could be primed for a breakout season.
The Colts won't be relying on the arm of Luck like they did Manning. They've beefed up the line and changed schemes to get a running attack going. Brown, who's known to break big plays will be the biggest beneficiary of this and his numbers could only go up.
I'd rate Brown as his stock up and I think he will have a decent season.
Reggie Wayne—Stock Up
Reggie Wayne had his worst season in the NFL last year since his rookie year. I think he will have a tremendous increase of productivity this year for a number of reasons. None is bigger than having Andrew Luck throwing to him over Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky.
Luck has more of a powerful and accurate arm than the duo throwing to him last year and can place balls like Manning. I think Wayne will return to the 1,000 yards receiving club this season and will have a great year.
After all, it can't get any worse than it was last year for the veteran from Miami.
Austin Collie—Stock Up
Austin Collie was once projected to be the next big receiver in the NFL. Before his first concussion a few years ago against Philly, he was in the top five in every receiving stat and definitely on a Pro Bowl season.
Since then, Collie has suffered two concussions and looked last year like he didn't belong on the same field as the team. This year, I think with a better quarterback and being 100 percent healthy Collie will be back to the Collie of old.
I don't think we will see the same stats we saw prior to the injury with him playing out of his normal slot position, but he will be productive. I look for Collie to have a very solid year.
Coby Fleener—Stock Up
Coby Fleener has the potential to have Rob Gronkowski numbers in a few years. I think he will eventually break every record former tight end Dallas Clark ever broke. It all starts this season for the young rookie out of Stanford.
The Colts are adopting the duel tight end set like all the other powerful offenses in the NFL, and it will allow Andrew Luck to spread the field with this option. It helps that Fleener and Luck worked extremely well together at Stanford and I think that will carry over. I expect Fleener to have huge numbers and lead the Colts in many of the receiving stats.
Fleener is a big target and has phenomenal hands. He will surprise a lot of people as I have him on rookie of the year watch.
Dwight Freeney—Stock Down
Dwight Freeney may go down as the best defensive player to ever put on a Colts uniform. He's broken many sack records and is definitely heading to Canton once his career is over. The problem is he's playing a new position instead of his natural defensive end spot.
Freeney has to adapt to the new outside linebacker role this season in the new look 3-4. Freeney hasn't had to drop back in coverage since his high school days and I don't know if he can adapt as quickly as the Colts would like with his age. He's pinned his earns back and harassed quarterbacks for years now and I don't think this late in his career he will adapt well.
With Freeney due over $19 million, I think this will be the last season we see No. 93 in Colts blue.
Robert Mathis—Stock Down
Robert Mathis, like Dwight Freeney, has to adjust to life at a new position. The dynamic former defensive line duo will go down as the best combo linemen the Colts ever had. Now, they both have to adjust to outside linebacking spots.
I think Mathis will have a better time at the spot as he's smaller and I feel a little more athletic. Both Freeney and Mathis will still get their fair share of sacks when they rush, but I'm not sold on them dropping in coverage or filling gaps in their new spots.
I think Mathis' stock is down until he can prove otherwise.
Pat Angerer—Stock Up
I think this may be the year Pat Angerer becomes a Pro Bowl linebacker. The man is a beast and he's just now entering his third season out of Iowa. Angerer is a tough-nosed football player and will do whatever he can to get to the ball carrier.
I think with the new 3-4 and a beefier line, holes will open for Angerer to hit hard and stuff the running back. I think the production for Angerer will be through the roof if he can stay healthy and have his best season yet.
I also think Angerer will do great with coverage and his skills will shine as he will have to make up for the new schemes and lack of outside linebacking help. I look for Angerer to have a huge year, therefore his stock is definitely up and rising.
Antoine Bethea—Stock Up
Antoine Bethea is one of the most reliable Colts on the roster. The safety not only doesn't get hurt, but he gives 100 percent effort on every play and rarely makes a mistake. I think this season Bethea will do just like he has during his entire tenure in the NFL.
I expect Bethea to get more action as the Colts will play more man coverage than zone and this will allow Bethea to show us what he can do. He's definitely fast enough to make up ground and I think he can be a huge part of pass breakups or interceptions. He's so good at reading quarterbacks and is a very underrated safety.
Bethea may be quiet, but his numbers won't be this year. Expect him to carry the secondary and play in every game.