5 Indianapolis Colts Players Poised for a Breakout Campaign in 2014
After a second consecutive trip to the postseason, expectations are high once again for the Indianapolis Colts, and there are a few players that fans will be expecting to break out in 2014.
OTA workouts began on Tuesday, and these workouts will go through June 12. After that, mandatory minicamp will go from June 17 through June 19. While these workouts won't tell us a lot about the team, they are a sign that the NFL season is getting closer.
As they begin to report for workouts, let's take a look at five Colts players that are poised to have breakout seasons.
I talked last week about how Josh Chapman has been put on notice, and I believe that he'll be able to step up and be a very solid player on the inside of the defensive line.
Chapman was finally healthy enough to get on the field last season, and when he was out there, he was a solid player against the run. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Chapman had a run defense grade of 4.7, which was the fourth-highest grade on the defense despite playing just 243 snaps all year.
Don't expect Chapman to be an effective pass-rusher at nose tackle, but considering the team's defensive philosophy, Chuck Pagano and company are going to be very happy having the former fifth-round pick stop the run.
It was a difficult transition period for Bjoern Werner in 2013, moving from a defensive end at Florida State to a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Colts.
The Colts needed Werner to be their second option to get to the quarterback behind Robert Mathis last year, but he struggled to do so. He finished the year with just 2.5 sacks and dealt with a foot injury that forced him to miss three games and likely slowed him down.
Now, Werner will have another offseason to get comfortable in his new position, but the Colts are going to need him to be ready to replace Mathis for the first quarter of the season. Mathis was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, which means that Werner will have to step up.
He won't be as effective as Mathis, but I expect Werner to look much better in his second season in the league and he should be able to rack up a few more sacks.
The Colts have a ton of talented wide receivers on the roster this year, and it will be hard for some of the guys outside of the first three to get a ton of snaps. However, after what he did in just five games in the regular season, Da'Rick Rogers looks like a player that could make some big plays on offense.
Although he was arguably one of the most talented receivers in the 2013 draft class, Rogers went undrafted due to off-field concerns. He joined the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent, but was cut a few months later and the signed a deal to join the Colts practice squad.
Pagano finally gave Rogers a chance in December, and he began to turn heads shortly after. During the team's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Rogers had six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the regular season with 14 receptions, 192 yards and two scores.
At 6'3'', Rogers is a vertical threat that made some exciting plays last year. He'll need to focus on limiting the amount of drops, but when he's on the field, expect Andrew Luck to be looking his way on some deep throws.
After missing essentially the entire 2013 season, this is going to be a very exciting year for Dwayne Allen.
For as often as Pep Hamilton's offense was criticized last year, keep in mind that he likely planned to have his two top tight ends on the field all year. Granted, he should have made adjustments sooner, but we have yet to see what the "No Coast Offense" can do with both Allen and Coby Fleener on the field.
Fortunately, we'll get to see the offense in action this season, assuming both tight ends are able to stay healthy.
Allen is a frightening mismatch at 6'3'' and 265 pounds, and he showed that as a rookie, catching 45 passes for 521 yards and three touchdowns. He only played in a handful of snaps in Week 1 before going down again, but he still ended up catching a 20-yard touchdown.
The Colts could possibly have the best tight end duo in the league next year, so expect big things from Allen if he can stay healthy.
He may already be arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the AFC, but this is going to be the season where Andrew Luck solidifies himself as an elite QB.
Luck made strides in his sophomore season, cutting his interceptions in half and completing 60.2 percent of his passes, but there's still more room for improvement. The former Stanford quarterback will have another season with Hamilton to find ways to improve the offense, but most importantly, he'll have a better supporting cast around him.
After Reggie Wayne went down, Luck's weapons were T.Y. Hilton, Fleener and a handful of inexperienced and young receivers. Now, Luck will be getting Wayne and Allen back along with two new faces in free-agent acquisition Hakeem Nicks and rookie Donte Moncrief.
The Colts may be more worried about giving players enough time on the field instead of who Luck will be throwing to.
Along with plenty of weapons, Luck will also have an improved offensive line to give him more time in the pocket. Donald Thomas will be returning after missing last season with a torn quad, Mike McGlynn and Samson Satele are gone and Jack Mewhort looks to be a versatile offensive lineman that could take Hugh Thornton's starting job at offensive guard.
With a ton of extra firepower and an offensive line that should rank better than No. 25 in pass blocking, per PFF, Luck should be able to elevate his game to the next level.
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