Indianapolis Colts Rookie Training Camp Progress Reports
As training camp continues, a number of rookies for the Indianapolis Colts have begun the process of learning the playbook and are fighting for either starting spots or just places on the final depth chart. With camp already a couple of weeks in, some rookies are turning heads, while others still have some work to do.
The Colts didn't have a first-round draft pick due to the trade with the Cleveland Browns for Trent Richardson, but they did have a number of picks to help address some of the weaknesses on the roster.
Still, the lack of a first-round pick means that there are lower expectations for this rookie class than others, but judging from what some rookies have done so far, they could end up exceeding those expectations.
Having said that, let's take a look at the progress reports for each draft pick up to this point in training camp.
The Colts used their first pick of the 2014 NFL draft to select offensive lineman Jack Mewhort. While he wasn't the sexiest pick, the selection is looking pretty smart now that Donald Thomas is out for the season once against after re-tearing his quad.
With Thomas now out once again, Mewhort is likely the go-to guy to start at left offensive guard. Regardless of what he did in college, Mewhort will likely have some growing pains being forced into the starting lineup, much like Hugh Thornton had in 2013. However, head coach Chuck Pagano appears to like Mewhort, according to ESPN's Mike Wells.
"Besides his toughness, position flexibility,” Pagano told Wells of Mewhort, "he doesn’t flinch when we move him around. ... The guy is unflappable. He’s a tough guy and nothing seems to bother Jack."
This early, it's tough to tell how Mewhort is doing considering practices have rarely been in full pads, but Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue noted that he held his own against Arthur Jones at Monday's practice.
If Mewhort is able to hold his own better than Mike McGlynn did last year, Colts fans won't be complaining.
Before training camp, it was unclear what Donte Moncrief's role would be in the Colts offense, as they already have a plethora of wide receivers on the depth chart. However, with LaVon Brazill now gone and Moncrief impressing at camp, it looks like he'll be one of the featured receivers behind guys like Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks.
I got a chance to see Moncrief last week, and I was impressed. Along with his skills at wide receiver, the Colts could also use him as a kick returner, where he's currently the No. 1 guy on the most recent camp depth chart.
Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has been very impressed with Moncrief so far, according to Josh Wilson, with the second-year OC saying:
He is deceptively fast, as well as a tough smart kid. It's hard to absorb and digest the volume of our offense. To get lined up is a challenge for a young receiver but he has put the time in with Coach Charlie Williams in the meeting room studying his playbook and he has been able to go out and make some plays for us.
There may be questions about who will protect Andrew Luck in 2014, but no one is questioning whether or not he'll have enough weapons to throw to.
With a four-game suspension for Robert Mathis, the Colts have a big hole to fill in terms of rushing the passer to start the season. Bjoern Werner has apparently looked better up to this point in camp, but another name that the Colts might look to to help them get to opposing quarterbacks is Jonathan Newsome.
Coming from Ball State, Newsome will be a potential option behind Werner at outside linebacker. So far, a number of people have been impressed, including Kevin Bowen from Colts.com, who says that Newsome will be a factor at outside linebacker.
Chuck Pagano thinks that Newsome is adjusting quickly and effectively, according to Evan Massey from Fansided, saying:
I think he is ahead of where we thought he would be at this point. He is picking the things up. Like all rookies, he’s making mistakes here and there. Thing about Jon is, once he gets cleared up in his mind, he is not going back and (having) repeat offenses, so to speak. Clean it up, and you can move on. A lot of guys you have to keep going back, but that’s not Jon.
Once Mathis returns, Newsome likely won't be called upon as often, but if he can at least generate pressure in the first four games, his rookie season should be considered a success.
As a sixth-round pick, Andrew Jackson hasn't made much of an impact up to this point in training camp. Some of that has to do with limited opportunities, but now that he's hurt, it's making it even harder for him to make an impact.
Jackson suffered a soft tissue injury last Friday at practice, according to Phillip B. Wilson from the Indianapolis Star, and he has yet to return from the injury. He's currently listed as the third-team "Mike" linebacker behind D'Qwell Jackson and Kelvin Sheppard.
Once he returns, Jackson will have work to do, as he has yet to make a noticeable impact at practice.
Seventh-round picks almost always face uphill battles in terms of making the final roster, and the same goes for Ulrick John as he tries to make the Indianapolis Colts team before the end of training camp.
John could theoretically play any position on the offensive line, and that helps his chances of making final roster. Those chances are helped even more by the recent injury to Thomas, but that still doesn't mean he's a lock to be one of the final 53 players.
Things haven't gone exceptionally well up to this point. According to Tom James from the Tribune-Star, Daniel Adongo was knocking John around early in camp. However, there are still actual preseason games to be played, and maybe John can make enough of an impact in one or two of them to make the final roster.