Cuts are tough.
Most of the time when NFL teams make their final roster cuts, they eventually end up parting ways with at least one player that they really, really liked and wished they could've kept around.
It's just usually not about five.
The Indianapolis Colts final round of roster cuts left a few surprises. The Colts kept five running backs and five wide receivers, but just eight offensive linemen, three of whom have never played in a regular season NFL game. Not to mention for the first time in the Peyton Manning era, the Colts kept three quarterbacks on the roster. The Colts also retained five defensive ends, and just four interior defensive linemen.
Cuts are always up for debate. Here are five players the Colts should've kept and the ones they should've cut.
Tommie Harris is a three-time pro bowler, yet he couldn't make a spot on this team.
Instead, the Colts chose to keep Antonio Johnson, Fili Moala, Eric Foster and rookie Drake Nevis. This unit will really miss Harris and the leadership he would've brought to them this season. He also showed during the preseason that he still has pass rush capabilities.
When Colts fans heard that the team had signed Harris, most were very happy to hear the news. Harris has been a very productive player during his time in the NFL. Many thought that he would help to shore up a DT position that has long been a problem for the Colts.
The Colts should've cut Moala instead. Moala has not shown much of a motor during his time with the Colts. He had lots of hype coming in out of USC, but he has yet to show much production. In 26 career games, he has only 33 tackles and has yet to record a sack.
The Colts will truly miss Tommie Harris this season.
While many remember him as Edgerrin James's cousin, Javarris was the Colts' leader in rushing touchdowns last season. Meaning he is a proven back in the Colts' system.
Of the five running backs now on the Colts' roster, three of them are rookies (Delone Carter, Darren Evans and Chad Spann).
First, five running backs seems like too many. Four seems more appropriate. While Evans did look very good in the final preseason game, is that enough to warrant keeping him around? Just because he looked good in one game? James proved himself last year. If injuries arose, and the Colts did end up needing Evans, I would imagine he would be right by the phone.
I would rather keep the proven back than the one who looked good against the Bengals' fourth string.
The Colts don't need another wide receiver, and if Anthony Gonzalez doesn't play again this year, he needs cut, seeing as how he is becoming the Bob Sanders of the offense. This is Gonzalez's last opportunity.
What the Colts do need is a kick returner, and David Gilreath is the Colts' best option for that position. He just also happens to be a wide receiver.
It appears as if the Colts will trust Chad Spann with the kick returning duties. He did not look nearly as good as Gilreath did in the preseason return game. Recall that Spann bobbled a kickoff during one of the games. GIlreath also consistently looked better and better with each game. Usually that alone is good enough for Bill Polian to keep a player.
The team should've kept Gilreath (even though that would make six receivers on the roster) and cut Spann strictly based on a special teams' decision.
DeVan (No. 66) spent the last two seasons at offensive guard with the Colts.
After cutting Kyle DeVan, Jacques McClendon and Michael Toudouze, the Colts' offensive line got very, very young.
DeVan played in 31 games the last two seasons with the Colts and started 21 of those games. While he may not be the best option, he would at least be able to help the young line along with the bevy of play calls that a Peyton Manning offense features. He would also be a very reliable back up in case Joe Reitz or Ryan Diem went down with injury at guard.
The Colts should've cut Curtis Painter instead of DeVan. The team's biggest concern is Manning. Given this, the team needs to worry most about protecting him. DeVan would've been a solid option to keep defenders away from him. He has continued to step up over the last two years.
Painter has looked inconsistent during the preseason and has never looked good in the regular season. What was the point of acquiring Kerry Collins if the Colts were going to keep Painter too?
Chick has shown heart this preseason. He has shown the desire and hunger that NFL teams crave.
Yet it wasn't enough to secure a spot with the Colts.
The team had difficult decisions to make along the defensive line, but it is hard to let go of John Chick after the way he played during the preseason.
The Colts should've waived veteran Tyler Brayton instead.. While Brayton does have eight years of NFL experience, he didn't look as good as Chick. Chick won the battle, but apparently according to Colts' front office staff, Brayton won the war.
We'll miss Chick's relentless effort and drive along the defensive front this season.