Last year, I had the Indianapolis Colts as my fifth-ranked team in these power rankings. Ready to battle with Andrew Luck and a young core, the team was poised to make a Super Bowl run. As we know now, that wouldn’t happen. Even with Luck’s surprising retirement, the Colts made the most of the season, seeing what they had in Jacoby Brissett and many other players. The Colts went big in free agency, getting a new starting quarterback, cornerback, and trading their first-round pick for a defensive superstar. At 25-1 odds to win the Super Bowl, I would take that bet and run with it.
Make sure to check out all of our in-depth power rankings here.
- Overall – 82.418 (11th)
- Offense – 82.855 (10th)
- Defense – 82.915 (9th)
- Coach and Culture – 83.75, (T-10th)
- Home Field Advantage – 81.5, T-15th (4% Defense, 2% Overall)
Quarterbacks – 80.5, 13th (36% Offense, 27% Overall)
With Brissett under center last year, the Colts went 7-9. While he showed flashes of being a starting quarterback, ultimately he should be relegated to a top backup instead. As a result, the Colts brought in Philip Rivers. Rivers had the worst year of his career last year as the Chargers stumbled to a 5-11 record. He is hoping that a change of scenery and a better offensive line will help take him to his first Super Bowl. Rivers threw 20 interceptions last year and will have to fix the turnovers for the Colts to reach their true potential.
Brissett could be on his way out as Indianapolis brought in Jacob Eason during the draft. Eason is much similar to Rivers than Brissett and fits better in Frank Reich‘s system. While I wasn’t high on Eason during the draft process, to the point where I called him the most overrated quarterback in the class, I do like the landing spot in Indianapolis. Chad Kelly was once thought of as a developmental project but will now likely find himself out of Indianapolis and elsewhere.
Running Backs – 84, 13th (4% Offense, 3% Overall)
Marlon Mack put together another solid season last year. He averaged 78 yards per game and totaled 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns last year. The Colts took a bit of a luxury pick in the second round, selecting Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. The duo of Mack and Taylor will be intriguing to watch as Mack has been in the system and has 1,999 rushing yards over the last two years. Meanwhile, Taylor averaged 2,058 rushing yards a season at Wisconsin. He has a run of tread on his tires as he had 926 total carries in college. The biggest knock on Taylor coming out was his lack of pass production and he had his best season receiving last year where he had 26 catches for 252 yards and five touchdowns.
Jordan Wilkins had a solid season as the number two back last year and filled in when Mack went down with an injury. Wilkins had 307 yards and two touchdowns but will take a backseat to Mack and Taylor this year. Nyheim Hines plays a major role in the passing attack and had 44 catches for 320 yards last year. He is expected to have a bigger role this season.
Pass Catchers – 82, T-13th (17% Offense, 8% Overall)
T.Y. Hilton was plagued by injuries last year as he only played in 10 games. He caught 45 passes for 501 yards and five touchdowns and will finally have some help opposite of him this year. Along with Taylor, the Colts continued their offensive splurge by adding USC’s Michael Pittman with the 34th selection. Pittman does his best work as a route-runner and is extremely physical at the point of attack. Reich was absolutely stoked to get Pittman in the second round, even calling him the best receiver in the draft.
Zach Pascal led Indianapolis in receptions, yards, and receiving touchdowns last year with Hilton out. Marcus Johnson also stepped up last year in Hilton’s absence snagging 17 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns. Parris Campbell was expected to make an impact right away as a rookie last year but had trouble staying on the field as he only played seven games. If Campbell is able to stay healthy, he will start in the slot. Dezmon Patmon was selected on day three and will fight for a roster spot.
With Eric Ebron gone, the Colts brought in a familiar face to Reich when they brought in Trey Burton. Burton will team up with Jack Doyle at the tight end spot. Doyle had 43 catches for 448 yards and four touchdowns while splitting time with Ebron. When Burton made the move to Chicago, he didn’t live up to the potential many thought he had coming over from Philadelphia. Burton was only able to manage 14 catches for 84 yards last year. Mo Alie-Cox has also shown some flashes in limited playing time as well.
Offensive Line – 85.5, 5th (24% Offense, 12% Overall)
The biggest turnaround the Colts have made is on their offensive line. PFF ranked their offensive line third in the league last year and all five starters played over 1,000 snaps. All five starters return again this year. Anthony Castonzo questioned retirement this offseason but is back again for another year at left tackle. Quenton Nelson is one, if not the best guards in the league coming into his third year. Ryan Kelly and Mark Glowinski make the rest of the interior, while Braden Smith has done an excellent job making the switch from guard to tackle.
Chaz Green and Le’Raven Clark offer some depth with starting experience. Indianapolis was very high on Danny Pinter out of Ball State. Chris Ballard said that Pinter could very well develop into one of the best interior linemen in the league in a few years and has a ton of help and experience in front of him to develop.
Run Defense – 86, 4th (6% Defense, 2% Overall)
The Colts had the fifth-ranked run defense in the league last year and that was before they added DeForest Buckner via trade. Along with Buckner, Denico Autry came into his own last year while Grover Stewart and Al-Quadin Muhammad showed some development. Kemoko Turay‘s season was derailed due to injuries last year but will be back again on the very deep defensive line. Tyquan Lewis and Sheldon Day also provide depth as well. The linebacking group is one of the best in the league against the run, which we’ll get more to later.
Pass Rush – 82, T-13th (21% Defense, 10% Overall)
The Colts finished last year with 41 sacks last year, led by Justin Houston‘s 11. Houston is back again and is taking last year’s second-round pick, Ben Banogu under his wing. Banogu had 2.5 sacks last year in a limited rotational role. Indianapolis got a ton of production from their front four last year getting after the passer as Autry had 3.5 sacks, while Stewart and Muhammed had three sacks apiece. Buckner is added to the fold and had 7.5 sacks last year as well as 12 in 2018. The depth on the interior and front four is insane and all have pass-rush potential. The three starters at linebacker accounted for 8.5 sacks last year as well. The Colts’ depth at this spot is great.
Linebackers – 86.5, T-3rd (15% Defense, 4% Overall)
The Colts front office was laughed at when they selected Darius Leonard in 2018 but now Indianapolis is laughing at others as Leonard has transformed into one of the best linebackers in the league. He had 121 tackles, as well as five sacks and interceptions. He is a complete linebacker and is great in every facet of the game. Anthony Walker is an unknown to most but is the man in the middle of the defense for Indianapolis. He had 124 tackles, two sacks, and an interception. Now he enters a contract year. Bobby Okereke had 65 tackles and a sack in his rookie season and performed great when Leonard was out due to an injury.
Gerri Green and E.J. Speed were both selected in last year’s draft and didn’t get much playing time. Both are back again this year and are looking to make an impact. Matthew Adams and Zaire Franklin are also in the mix as backups impacting Green and Speed’s playing time.
Secondary – 81, T-14th (26% Defense, 17% Overall)
Rock Ya-Sin had a solid rookie season where he had 62 tackles, five pass deflections, and an interception. He should take a step in year two and is now joined by Xavier Rhodes, who the team added on a one-year contract. Kenny Moore is a great player who is virtually unknown and will play in the slot but can also play outside despite being 5’9″. Moore is also able to play in the box as he had 2.5 sacks to go along with two interceptions last year. Marvell Tell and T.J. Carrie offer some depth as well as some more veteran insurance.
The Colts surprised many when they declined Malik Hooker‘s fifth-year option. Hooker has been plagued by injuries during his career but has been a solid player when he is on the field. Khari Willis was a steal in last year’s draft and will line up opposite of Hooker. Julian Blackmon was selected in the third round and will potentially replace Hooker next year to form a great young duo on the back end with Willis. Blackmon was a three-year starter at Utah and was praised for his tackling ability as well as a knack for knowing where the football is.
Coach and Culture – 83.75, T-10th (19% Offense, 28% Defense, 15% Overall)
Before we get to the coaches and how they affect the offense and defense. We have to start with the top-man, which is Ballard. He has completely remade the team after Ryan Grigson turned the team upside down. Ballard has built up the team from the ground up and now has one of the best offensive lines in the league and a young defense filled with budding superstars. Not only has he set the Colts up for success now, but he has built the team for the future as well. I wrote an article early last year about Ballard which you can read here.
Reich and Nick Sirianni have all the pieces in place for the offense to become one of the best in the league. The offensive line is great and Indianapolis has a stable of running backs that will take the load off of Rivers. With Reich and Sirianni, Eason has a great room of teachers now and will have a quick road to becoming the future of the team. Indianapolis ranks tied for 11th in offensive coach and culture.
The Colts have one of the youngest defenses in the league, and despite their young age, have quickly become one of the best defenses in the league. The defense is full of depth at all three levels. Indianapolis comes in tied for 11th in defensive coach and culture as well. The Colts are working their way back into one of the best teams in the league. The offense will be more explosive this year with the additions of Rivers, Taylor, and Pittman behind a great offensive line. The defense is full of young superstars and has a ton of depth behind their starters. Indianapolis is in a great spot now and for the future.
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