Indianapolis Colts: Early Rookie Progress Reports
With the rookie minicamp officially complete and the Indianapolis Colts' organized team activities underway, it's time to check back in with the Colts' 2014 draft picks.
With the fewest draft picks of any team in the 2014 draft, the Colts were in a tight spot to begin with. Fortunately, the draft was one of the deepest in recent memory, and the Colts still should have been able to, in theory, still pick up some impressive talent.
It's not a particularly "sexy" draft class for Indianapolis, but it's one that still could have an early impact. The most important impact by these draft picks won't be until years down the road, but they are still worth keeping an eye on as we move throughout the summer.
OL Jack Mewhort
So far, Mewhort's progression in Indianapolis is right in line with expectations. While some expected him to come in and start right away, beating out Hugh Thornton or Khaled Holmes at right guard or center, the situation always seemed a bit less optimistic to me.
While Mewhort may be a long-term starting piece, the Colts have starters in place that they have invested in, and a rookie lineman is not going to be able to supplant that easily.
Now that OTAs have started and we have the entire team there (save a few faces), we can get a better idea of what the team has planned for Mewhort.
It's early, but Mewhort is currently the second-string left guard, according to the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell. Lance Louis, a former Chicago Bear, is currently starting at left guard. Donald Thomas, the assumed starter at left guard, is still healing from torn biceps and quadriceps that he suffered last season.
It's interesting that the team is currently using him on the left side, considering Thornton's assumed role on the right. Thornton is much less proven than Thomas, and most would expect Mewhort to challenge him. The team groomed Thornton at right guard last offseason, however, and has planned for him to start there all along. It was only an injury to Thomas last season that forced Holmes onto the left side.
In the end, it's just an early practice, one that may mean very little in the long run.
WR Donte Moncrief
From here on out, there will likely be little buzz around Donte Moncrief. There's so much talent at the wide receiver position, with veterans like Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks leading a group of young, explosive receivers in T.Y. Hilton and Da'Rick Rogers. Moncrief simply won't have an opportunity to get onto the field much as a rookie, outside of injury.
But at rookie minicamp, Moncrief impressed, according to Colts.com writer Kevin Bowen. Head coach Chuck Pagano said that Moncrief is a "big, smooth, athletic guy, he just gets behind people, beats people. Catches the ball well, picks things up mentally really good. So, we are happy."
If Moncrief can get some polish into his game early, he should be the default fourth receiver heading into the season.
OLB Jonathan Newsome
Not much has been said about Jonathan Newsome thus far, but he did get the "Play of the Day" during Day 2 of rookie minicamp, says Christina Aguayo of WFFT in Fort Wayne. Newsome reportedly blocked an intended pass, nearly intercepting it.
Newsome should be a part of the group of outside linebackers competing to fill in for Robert Mathis during his four-game suspension. Without said suspension, Newsome may not have gotten much, if any early playing time. Let's just call it a silver lining for now.
While it hasn't been confirmed yet, Newsome will almost certainly be a rush outside linebacker, and may see some looks in nickel formations.
LB Andrew Jackson and OL Ulrick John
Neither Jackson or John have been discussed much so far in Indianapolis as both try to make the final roster. While draft picks certainly have an advantage, neither are locks to make the roster, but are at positions with little established depth.
Bob Lamey recently discussed the adjustment to NFL life with both late-round picks, via Colts.com. Both rookies expressed comfort in the Colts locker room and noted the benefits of playing behind established veterans in D'Qwell Jackson and Anthony Castonzo.
With Jackson from Western Kentucky and John from Georgia State, there isn't a plethora of tape on either one. It will be a blessing to have preseason tape to analyze of the two come August. If either names come up prior to training camp (for good reasons, not off-field nonsense), it will be a pleasant surprise.