INDIANAPOLIS, IN – With the 2020 Virtual NFL Draft now in the books, one team that many experts thought did very well and could be one player away from challenging the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts, who finished third in the AFC South with a 7-9 record under second-year head coach, Frank Reich, entered the offseason with some uncertainty at QB, despite Jacoby Brissett putting up respectable numbers under center in passing for 2,942 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions in 15 games last season.
Serving admirably as Andrew Luck’s backup–and eventual replacement following his sudden retirement–after being acquired from the bitter archrival New England Patriots for WR Philip Dorsett, some in the Circle City don’t quite see him and the potential heir apparent to Luck.
Instead, the Colts brought in 38-year-old veteran eight-time Pro Bowl QB Philip Rivers of the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, and signed him to a one-year $25 million deal to be the stopgap until they can decide whether Brissett, newly-drafted rookie Jacob Eason or one of the quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft is the future of the Colts.
On paper, the Colts had one of the best and most well-balanced drafts as they selected 6’4, 223-pound wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC that should quickly bring back memories of Rivers throwing to former 6’5 Chargers teammate in WR Vincent Jackson and a potential workhorse running back who’ll take a lot off of Rivers’ shoulder in former Wisconsin running back, Jonathan Taylor, who’ll form a nice one-two punch with starter Marlon Mack.
What may now seem to be a hint at possibly foreshadowing is Indianapolis selecting former Utah safety, Julian Blackmon in the third round (85th overall) and declined the fifth-year option of former first-round pick S Malik Hooker. On paper, the Colts could have a potentially potent offense thanks to Rivers under center at QB, Mack and Taylor at RB and a deadly WR corps that consists of T.Y. Hilton, Pittman Jr. and second-year wideout Parris Campbell.
Unlike in Los Angeles, Rivers will have a much better offensive line to give him time to throw that is anchored by two-time Pro Bowl guard Quenton Nelson. On defense, this is where the Colts could potentially surprise many with one of the league’s most underrated defenses led by newly-acquired DT DeForest Buckner, DE Justin Houston, LB Darius Leonard and CB TJ Carrie.
With the AFC South currently in flux, thanks to the Texans inexplicably trading WR DeAndre Hopkins, uncertainty over Gardner Minschew in Jacksonville and Ryan Tannehill likely to come back down to earth in Tennessee, the Colts have a chance to make some noise in 2020.
The question is will others it hear them coming before it’s too late?