The Indianapolis Colts must cut their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 2. Here’s a final 53-man roster projection:
QUARTERBACKS (3): Andrew Luck, Scott Tolzien, Stephen Morris
The Colts often have kept just two quarterbacks on the roster. They’ll likely start this season with three because of Luck missing the entire preseason and all of training camp while recovering from shoulder surgery in January.
RUNNING BACKS (3): Frank Gore, Robert Turbin, Marlon Mack
It’s important that the Colts get some kind of contribution from Turbin and Mack because the 34-year-old Gore had 216 more carries than the next-closest running back on the roster last season.
WIDE RECEIVER (6): T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, Chester Rogers, Kamar Aiken, JoJo Natson
This unit could end up being the most talented Luck has had. Rogers had one of the most impressive offseasons of any player on the roster. Hilton led the NFL in receiving yards (1,448) last season. Moncrief isn’t showing any sign he can stay healthy because he dealt with another shoulder injury during the preseason.
TIGHT END (4): Jack Doyle, Erik Swoope, Brandon Williams, Darrell Daniels
Doyle moves into the lead tight-end spot after finishing second on the team in receptions and receiving yards last season. Swoope, a former college basketball player, was supposed to slide into the No. 2 role at that position, but he’s sidelined with a knee injury.
OFFENSIVE LINE (10): Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort, Ryan Kelly, Joe Haeg, Le’Raven Clark, Denzelle Good, Zach Banner, Brian Schwenke, Deyshawn Bond, Jeremy Vujnovich
The surprise cut of this group is Clark. The 2016 third-round pick ended his rookie season by starting the final three games, but then he lost his starting job to Vujnovich after just one preseason game this year.
DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Margus Hunt, Henry Anderson, Johnathan Hankins, Al Woods, Grover Stewart, T.Y. McGill
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Hankins highlights this group, which needs to lead the improvement of a defense that finished 30th in the NFL last season. Langford missed seven games with a knee injury in 2016.
LINEBACKER (8): Antonio Morrison, Edwin Jackson, Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Barkevious Mingo, Anthony Walker Jr., Jon Bostic, Tarell Basham
The Colts will start three new linebackers in Simon, Sheard and Bostic to go with holdover Morrison. Simon, who spent last season with Houston, had a hand in forcing a turnover in each of the Colts’ first three preseason games.
CORNERBACK (6): Vontae Davis, Quincy Wilson, Rashaan Melvin, Nate Hairston, Chris Milton, Corey White
Davis’ groin injury, which could cost him some games, means two of the Colts’ top three cornerbacks in Week 1 could be rookies Wilson and Hairston. The Colts had better hope they’re able to establish a pass rush to help their young cornerbacks. T.J. Green, the team’s second-round pick who made the switch from safety to cornerback, is dealing with a shoulder injury, which may cause the Colts to think about putting him on injured reserve because of the shortage of healthy bodies at this position.
SAFETY (4): Darius Butler, Malik Hooker, Ronald Martin, Matthias Farley
The thought was Hooker would be the Week 1 starter the moment he was selected in the first round of the draft. The combination of Hooker being in and out of the lineup in training camp due to an assortment of injuries and the strong play of Farley, who was the Colts best safety in the preseason, mean the odds of that happening aren’t as high.
SPECIALISTS (3): Kicker Adam Vinatieri, punter Rigoberto Sanchez, long-snapper Luke Rhodes
Vinatieri is having his second long-snapper and second kickoff specialist in less than six months following the release of punter Jeff Locker and trade of long-snapper of Thomas Hennessy earlier this week after spending so many years with punter Pat McAfee and long-snapper Matt Overton.