They say rookie seasons in the NFL can be a learning experience

The radio entertainment that day had on South Florida head coach Willie Taggart.

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Moore was listening to Taggart rave about a freshman starter named Marlon Mack and his 275-yard, four-touchdown debut. “He’s saying, ‘I’m telling you there’s something unique about (Mack),’” Moore now says about how Taggart was describing the program’s eventual school-record holder.

Ferguson will rely on that experience as he tries to battle for a roster spot the next few months. Indianapolis used a fourth-round pick in last week’s NFL Draft on another speedy running back, Marlon Mack, who had a standout career at the University of South Florida.

You listen to Zach Banner and he sounds like a walking spokesperson for the city of Indianapolis. Banner has spent four days in his new home, all coming earlier this year at the NFL Combine.

Before the final day of the draft got underway on Saturday, Chris Ballard met the media. Ballard said he was interested in drafting an offensive lineman on Saturday to add some competition. The Indianapolis Colts jersey cheap took four offensive linemen in last year’s draft but still wanted to add one more in 2017, despite a weaker OL class this year.

Similar to Zach Banner on offense, the Colts do not need immediate contributions from their trench rookies.

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The huge Banner offers depth and a lot of potential as a 6’10 right tackle for the future and you can’t ignore how the size could make him a great blocker with a Joe Haeg like impact. “I thought he was the best defensive lineman there,” Chris Ballard said after selecting Stewart with the final pick of Round Four. “For a big man, he can move. He can get off the ball. He’s got strength. We think there’s a lot of upside, and we think he can play three different spots. Nike Colts #12 Andrew Luck Black Women's Stitched NFL Limited Gold Salute to Service Jersey

Basham is a physical and relentless presence as a pass rusher, traits that earned him Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year awards last season with Ohio University. But he will be making the transition from playing with his hand in the dirt at all times to becoming a stand-up 3-4 outside linebacker in Monachino’s defense.

We had a few T.J. Green questions in this week’s mailbag. The Colts do have some flexibility back there given what Darius Butler can do. However, I think they want Butler at safety. Now, if the Colts can’t find any cornerbacks in the draft, maybe that changes some things. I still believe that how Butler’s skills can co-exist with the physical nature of Geathers, makes more sense at the safety position. Let Green play that nickel roll and find some corner talent in the draft.

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They say rookie seasons in the NFL can be a learning experience.

Ask T.J. Green if that accurately describes his debut year in the NFL and the safety’s hand is likely to be raised in the air.

Basketball in high school kept Hooker away from the football field until his junior year. Hooker is very raw with his experience at safety. Hooker redshirted at Ohio State in 2014 and did not become a full-time starter until 2016. The Colts are going to have plenty of options in how they choose to use Hooker and the other defensive backs next season. With Hooker, Clayton Geathers, T.J. Green and Darius Butler, the Colts have some decisions to make when multiple defensive backs are needed. Butler, who moved to safety when he re-signed in March, has ample nickel cornerback experience. Coming out of college, Green was thought to be a possible cornerback at the next level. Ted Monachino now has plenty of choices for his defensive packages in 2017.

The 2016 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, is the next try at that

In Round Three of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Colts selected edge rusher Tarell Basham at No. 80 overall.

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They were encouraged about what they saw. That, along with the length and quick reaction at the snap, has the Colts intrigued about the pass rushing Basham will try to bring to professional football.

Ballard does believe that Basham can be more than just a pass rusher. The 42.5 tackles for loss from Basham backs up that belief.

From his talks at the Combine and observations of the Colts after three defenders in three draft picks, Basham knows he is part of something big in Indianapolis.

When looking at potential pass rushers each year in the NFL Draft, one of the most important questions a general manager asks himself is, “Is this guy a flash in the pan, or has he shown consistent improvement that can continue at the next level?”

And while there are countless examples of teams across the league falling in love with players who might’ve exploded their final year in college, only to see them become completely overmatched and rendered useless in the NFL colts jersey cheap , it appears Tarell Basham’s story could be much different.

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A young pass rusher was an absolute must for the Colts in this draft. Basham had 29.5 sacks and 42.5 tackles for loss in his four seasons at Ohio University. At 6-4 and 249 pounds, Basham will likely move to outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense for the Colts. He was a 4-3 defensive end at Ohio. The Colts have tried unsuccessfully to groom the franchise’s next top pass rusher. Basham, the 2016 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, is the next try at that. Colts #85 Pierre Garcon White Stitched NFL Jersey

Cornerback was easily the most obvious need for the Colts going into the 2017 NFL Draft. In the previous five drafts for the Colts, D’Joun Smith was the lone cornerback chosen by Indianapolis. Wilson’s name often appeared in the first round of Mock Drafts throughout the draft process. He ended up being the third cornerback taken in Friday’s second round. Per Pro Football Focus, Wilson’s quarterback rating allowed last season was 29.9, the lowest for any SEC cornerback.

A capable third cornerback is vital for a defense to survive in the NFL this decade. Is that D’Joun Smith’s role in his second NFL season? The Colts remain optimistic on Smith after some “buzzard luck” shelved him for all but four games of his rookie campaign. A name missing from that trio is 2015 third-round pick D’Joun Smith, the highest draft selection of the guys mentioned above.

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For the first time under Ryan Grigson, the Colts traded down in the NFL Draft. With the No. 65 overall pick, they selected D’Joun Smith, a cornerback from Florida Atlantic. After trading back to the No. 65 pick (the top of the third round), the Colts took Florida Atlantic cornerback D’Joun Smith with their second selection of 2015.

The team elected to waive/injure D’Joun Smith, after knee and ankle injuries limited the second-year corner to just one preseason game (15 snaps) in 2016.

Confidence is a necessity when being on an island at the cornerback position and D’Joun Smith spoke like one on Friday night. Known as an “instinctive” player, Smith was a two-time Conference USA selection highlighted by seven interceptions as a junior. Smith said he “hit it off” with the Colts during a Combine interview and Chuck Pagano was present at the Florida Atlantic Pro Day to watch Smith.

The Colts now have nine cornerbacks remaining on their 74-man roster. Injuries will still play a role in who rounds out that corner group this weekend. Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET is the deadline for the Colts to cut their roster down to 53.

The Colts were already dealing with Henry Anderson

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The Colts were already dealing with Henry Anderson, arguably their best defensive lineman, working back from a serious injury, and Langford was eventually headed for injured reserve.

Langford had never missed a game in more than eight NFL seasons, such a feat defensive lineman hopelessly dream about, with little shot at reality.

If the Colts can get Hankins to play like the highest paid defender on the team, they will have an important piece needed for better defensive play.

Though he would play every snap just four days later against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving Night, Robinson then re-aggravated that groin injury, and he was placed on injured reserve, ending his season, on Dec. 13.

In all, Robinson played in seven games with six starts for the Colts in 2016, collecting 26 tackles with five passes defensed.

The welcome moment to the NFL for Denzelle Good wasn’t Robert Mathis beating him in a one-on-one drill at practice.Nike Colts #15 Phillip Dorsett White Pink Women's Stitched NFL Limited Rush Fashion Jersey

In four starts at right tackle last season, Good showed enough to the Colts that they think he could factor in at right guard or right tackle this season.

“His toughness and desire to make plays on the ball is remarkably similar to his friend and off-season workout buddy, Marcus Peters,” Zierlein said. “Jones has lockdown corner talent but will have to prove he can add muscle without sacrificing speed. His football character and play traits should make him a long-time starter with Pro Bowl potential.”

One of the questions of the offseason for the Colts is where does Good fit into the line going forward.

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The aforementioned apparent riches at the cornerback position in this year’s draft will be an interesting storyline to follow. In fact, Jones is the fourth corner that has been linked to the Colts in more major mock drafts (including Campbell’s previous selections of Lattimore and Wilson), as Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo has also linked the Colts with Iowa cornerback Desmond King.

What’s interesting is the cornerback position, assuming 100 percent health, is one of the more stable spots within the Colts’ defense heading into the 2017 offseason. Returning are the team’s No. 1 and 2 corners — Davis and Patrick Robinson — and four-year veterans Rashaan Melvin and Darryl Morris, late-season signee Charles James II and undrafted rookie Christopher Milton could all be back on the offseason roster.

That’s not even factoring in veteran Darius Butler, who had yet another productive season in 2016 playing both at cornerback and at safety for the Colts, but heads into the  Indianapolis Colts jersey authentic offseason as an unrestricted-free-agent-to-be.

The Colts made a run at former Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe earlier this offseason. Poe eventually signed with the Falcons.

Melvin, a Northern Illinois product, played in 15 games with nine starts, finishing fifth on the team with 58 tackles (one for a loss), while also finishing tied for second on the team with seven passes defensed and forcing two fumbles. Morris, meanwhile, played in 12 total games with two starts, totaling 34 tackles, one interception, six passes defensed and two quarterback hits.

The Colts also got late-season contributions from former Texan Charles James II and 2016 undrafted rookies Christopher Milton and Frankie Williams.

The smile on 314-pound Hassan Ridgeway wasn’t disappearing

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When it comes to the long-term future of the Colts offense, so much of its core is already in place.

“Margus has rare size, speed and athleticism,” Ballard said in the team’s press release. “He has good experience on defense and is a significant contributor on special teams as well. I’m excited to see how he progresses this year.”

Hunt was a second-round (53rd overall) pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2013 NFL Draft, and the SMU product has amassed 26 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, three passes defensed and four special teams tackles in 44 career games.

By second-round pick standards, it’s been an underwhelming beginning to the NFL career of Margus Hunt.

In four seasons, Hunt has yet to start a game in 44 career contests.

Names like Luck, Hilton, Castonzo, Allen, Kelly don’t have their contracts coming up anytime soon.

One name that could/should be added to that list in the next year is Jack Mewhort.

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The 2017 season is Mewhort’s fourth in the NFL. It’s also the final on the rookie deal he signed after being taken in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Jack Mewhort caught the injury bug in 2016, and couldn’t really shake it.

But Mewhort’s 2016 season almost never started. He suffered a knee injury in the team’s third preseason game, and the immediate fear was that Indianapolis Colts jersey cheap he had suffered a torn ACL and would miss the entire year.

Those fears were quickly diminished, however, and Mewhort would work his way back into the starting lineup by the Colts’ 2016 season opener against the Detroit Lions.

The smile on 314-pound Hassan Ridgeway wasn’t disappearing.

Nope, it wasn’t going anywhere for the big Texas defensive lineman having just reached the National Football League.

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This moment was why Ridgeway made the difficult decision to forego his final season of eligibility at Texas to pursue NFL aspirations.

“We weren’t just going to take a guy to take a guy if we didn’t feel like they could come in and actually contribute in some way,” the Colts’ general manager said. “We’re going to have a really good, competitive training camp in a lot of position groups this year, which is a good thing.” Nike Colts #13 T.Y. Hilton Royal Blue Team Color Men's Stitched NFL Limited Tank Top Suit Jersey

The last two weeks, the Indianapolis offensive line has featured three of those rookies — Kelly, Haeg (at right guard) and Clark (at right tackle) — and the group has responded to the tune of zero sacks allowed in both contests, marking the first time in Luck’s 69 career games with the Colts he’s gone consecutive games without being sacked.

Grigson pointed to the fact that, as a whole, the Colts’ offensive line has allowed just nine sacks the previous seven weeks, ranking tied for fifth in the NFL in that category.

As you always says “you can always find good RBs in the late rounds”. Occurred to me that there’s a good chance other teams are thinking this way too.
Last year everybody said that there was depth at DL, so teams simply passed o D-linemen, because they could resolve it later, that way, Hassan Ridgeway that was projected by NFL.com to be a second rounder ended up going in the middle of the fourth to the Colts. Knowing that, some entire positions may slide, because the general mindset could be “there’s a bunch of guys, we see that later”, and I think that all RBs might fall because, it’s a loaded class and it’s not a preemium position like Edge rusher, lockdown CB or a mismatch TE.

The good news of the Colts in 2017

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The one-dimensional nature that has been associated with Phillip Dorsett’s game through two NFL seasons is something wide receivers coach Lee Hull wants to eliminate.

Following the selection of Phillip Dorsett in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Irsay spoke to just how that atypical speed can come into play when the lights are the brightest.

Dorsett’s second season in the NFL was quieter than expected, given the opportunities that presented the former first-round pick.

Others currently at the wide receiver position for the Colts are veteran Devin Street, as well as Tevaun Smith and Marcus Leak, both of whom impressed as undrafted rookies last offseason but spent much of the year on the practice squad.

This year the guy I want to follow is an UDFA that signed with the team– Marcus Leak WR – Attended UNC Charlotte pro day- seems to have been away from football for a year – any background he wants to share? All the reports I see just say personal reasons – hope things are sorted and going well for him now..

Quan Bray showed he could be electric for the Indianapolis Colts’ special teams units in 2015, etching in his name as one of the top returners in the league for the second half of the season. Indianapolis Colts jersey

Returner/wide receiver Quan Bray has joined outside linebacker Trent Cole on the injured reserve list.

This time i’m here to ask about Phillip Dorsett! I understand Quan Bray did a great job last year returning both kickoffs and punts, but will we see Dorsett kick returning again after a rough go at it last year? Personally, I think Dorsett can be as lethal as a returner as Tyler Lockett, and Antonio Brown.

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The good news for the Colts in 2017 is that they know exactly what they have at kicker and long snapper, and they have an established veteran coming in to try to do what he can to keep the momentum going at punter.

And don’t overlook the team’s talent at its returner spots. In 2015, Quan Bray was considered one of the best kick and punt returners in the entire league as a rookie, but his 2016 season was cut short and he was placed on IR after an ankle injury.

So with the San Diego Chargers coming to town on Sunday, Colts special teams coordinator Tom McMahon is stressing the importance of staying ready to go for any and every return opportunity that comes their way against a young — but talented — kicker/punter duo for the Chargers. Nike Colts #87 Reggie Wayne Royal Blue Youth Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey

“Some games you get every single (kickoff) you bring out, and every single punt, it’s right to you,” McMahon said this week. “But we’ve been in situations where they’ve been able to pooch punt from the 50, so a lot of balls end up in the end zone, or they try and pin you on the 10-yard line.”

McMahon is confident, however, that Bray is “ready to roll” whenever his number is called.

Quan Bray showed he could be electric for the Indianapolis Colts’ special teams units in 2015, etching in his name as one of the top returners in the league for the second half of the season.

But through two games in 2016, Bray’s opportunities have been limited at best. He has had just three kickoff returns and two total punt returns — with two additional fair catches — in the Colts’ losses to the Detroit Lions and the Denver Broncos.

The Colts put the ball in the hands of Robert Turbin in 2016

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Robert Turbin certainly was that last season for the Colts and he was rewarded earlier this week with a new contract to stay in Indianapolis.

Last spring, the Colts went out and inked Turbin to a one-year contract. Turbin had primarily spent his first four NFL seasons as Marshawn Lynch’s backup in Seattle.

The Colts relied heavily on Turbin for three main roles: short-yardage back, third-down threat and even on special teams.

It was a three-and-out start for the Colts with a Robert Turbin drop ending things.

Jacksonville took over at its own 14-yard line and drove into field goal range. After a 42-yard reception by Allen Robinson, the Jaguars got a 47-yard field goal from kicker Jason Myers. The Jags lead was 3-0 at the 10:05 mark of the first quarter.

“It’ll be interesting to see if he can progress even more on first and second down and take some of the load off (Gore). But that’ll be completely up to our coaching staff and Robert and how he performs.”

In Turbin’s first season with the Colts, his roles were primarily situational.

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That’s not going to happen in Indianapolis this coming fall. But you can easily consider Turbin a starting-caliber player, with how much the Colts used him last year and will continue to do so, as Gore reaches the age of 34.

With Gore and Turbin atop the depth chart again in 2017, the Colts could still add a rookie running back in an extremely deep draft class at the ball carrier position.

Seemingly each and every time the Indianapolis Colts put the ball in Robert Turbin’s hands in 2016, something good happened.

As the team’s second-string running back, Turbin, a bruiser at 5 foot 10, 225 pounds, oftentimes found himself on the field in  Indianapolis Colts jerseys short-yardage and goal-line situations throughout the season, and the fifth-year Utah State product responded to the tune of eight total touchdowns — seven on the ground and one via the pass.

His running back during those four seasons? Frank Gore, who would combine to run the ball 1,071 times for 4,659 yards — a 4.4-yard yards-per-carry average — with 29 rushing touchdowns over that same span.

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There was Turbin’s first three NFL years playing behind Marshawn Lynch in Seattle.

Here in Indianapolis, Turbin is about to head into a second season with Frank Gore as the team’s starting running back.

If Gore continues his rare run of durability, the “starter” label is not expected to come for Turbin in 2017.

Gore, of course, has continued his assault on the all-time National Football League rushing record book. In 2016 alone, he passed the likes of Thurman Thomas, Franco Harris, Marcus Allen, Edgerrin James, Marshall Faulk, Jim Brown and Tony Dorsett to move into eighth-place on the league’s all-time rushing list (13,065 yards); his 1,025 rushing yards during the season made him the first running back age 33 or older since the Washington Redskins’ John Riggins in 1984 to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

Three plays into the drive, Morris found wide receiver MeKale McKay down the ride side of the field for a 23-yard play to get into Cincinnati territory at the 48. Five plays a later, a pass interference call on the Bengals gave the Colts a 1st and 10 at the Bengals’ 30-yard line. Colts #18 Peyton Manning Black Shadow With Super Bowl Patch Stitched NFL Jerseys

After a short pass play to Tevaun Smith and an incompletion, Morris and the Colts’ offense got the presnap look they wanted, and decided to go with a jailbreak screen play to Smith.

And through the first two preseason games, a couple receivers in particular have really seemed to take advantage of their opportunities: Tevaun Smithand Chester Rogers.

In Indianapolis’ opening game of the preseason against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Smith was targeted a team-high six times and caught three passes for 34 yards. His value was also felt beyond the stat sheet, as he drew a pass interference penalty late in the first half that led to a game-tying field goal.

Doyle this week may enter a new chapter in his career

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The Colts signed Alie-Cox last Friday, in an effort to see if the Joe Reitz/Erik Swoope magic still exists with Chris Ballard now calling the shots in Indy.

Flip that calendar forward a year and Doyle is a newly signed man and atop the tight end depth chart in his hometown of Indianapolis.

Swoope has gone from never playing football just a couple of years ago, to the Colts’ No. 2 tight end, a role Rob Chudzinski used like a starter last season. Last year’s No. 2 tight end, Doyle, played more than two-thirds of the team’s offensive snaps.

Especially a California native, who played collegiately at the University of Miami, like Erik Swoope.

“When he is out there on the field, I don’t look at him and think he is still developing. He is out there like anybody, to help this team win — and he is,” Luck said this week of Swoope. “He is doing a heck of a job.”

Swoope’s story has been told many times, but it still stands to be repeated, due to the almost unprecedented nature he has found his way onto an NFL 53-man roster.

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He spent much of his first two seasons in Indianapolis on the Colts’ practice squad, at first just learning the basics of the game of football before he could get into any of the specifics. Slowly but surely, however, Swoope showed an ability to Indianapolis Colts jersey authentic retain what he was learning and apply it on the practice field and in the meeting room, and on Dec. 30, 2015, he was signed to the team’s active roster and participated in his first regular-season NFL game Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans, playing six snaps on offense and 15 snaps on special teams.

Erik Swoope’s journey of basketball player-turned NFL tight end has been told many times, but it bears repeating after his earning a major milestone in his football career on Sunday in the Indianapolis Colts’ critical victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Nike Colts #19 Johnny Unitas White Men's NFL Pro Line Fashion Game Jersey

That’s been Brandon Williams’ story so far throughout his NFL career.

In 45 career games with the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks, Williams has logged just one start, which came last season in Seattle. And since going undrafted out of Oregon in 2012, and then signing with the Panthers in 2013, he has been targeted just 11 total times, logging six career catches for 80 yards (13.3 yards per catch).

If the Colts do involve Williams in the passing game next year, he will be looking to add to the six career catches in four NFL seasons.

Just prior to the 2017 NFL Combine, reports leaked that Jack Doyle was likely to test the free agent market, with the Colts and their hometown tight end not close on a new contract.

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That was the response Ryan Grigson gave back in December when asked if Jack Doylewas a priority to re-sign in 2017.

And now that Doyle likely enters a new chapter of his career this week — his first experience as an unrestricted free agent — it’s probably safe to say that the cat is out of the bag when it comes to his potential on the field.

So whenever Doyle inks his new contract — and one would imagine the Colts hope he remains with his hometown team for the foreseeable future — his fantasy stock, like his bank account, will likely see a major rise.

Hop down to Frank Gore’s locker and one of the greatest running backs in NFL history lights up when hearing Jack Doyle’s name.

It’s fitting that one of Jack Doyle’s favorite sayings was said by one of Indiana’s greatest sports legends.