As we sit 5 days away from training camp there are many interesting questions being passed around about the Colts this upcoming season. Most notably are the position battles that are gearing up. Mostly they lay on the defensive side of the ball. Today a question was asked of Phillip B. Wilson, Colts beat writer for the Indy Star, about if it’s a possibility that the Colts come out of training camp and go into the season with three nose tackles on the active roster. That got me thinking. The Colts wanted to add depth to every position and they did that, but did they add too much? Here is how I am weighing in on the position battle that interests me the most.
As most people know I am a big BIG proponent for Josh Chapman. All the way back to Alabama to now I have loved this guy. He loves wreaking havoc on offenses and does it with such ease. Since being drafted though, he has been recovering from a knee injury. He hasn’t been able to show anyone what he has in the tank or prove that he can handle the NFL. Everyone you hear talk about him or whatever you read about him says NFL ready. What worries most people is the possibility that he may think he has already made it. That will be Chapman’s downfall if he does have that thought in his head. He must show up to camp ready to prove himself and out work the others in his way. Is Chapman the next great thing in the NFL? Not sure, but he has the tools to be great, just has to put them to use. He will have his chance this season.
Aubrayo Franklin is the second in this three man ring. The Colts signed him to bring in more of a veteran presence on the defensive side, but Franklin hasn’t really lived up to his potential yet. After runs with Baltimore, San Francisco, New Orleans and San Diego, Franklin comes to Indianapolis hoping to turn his career around. Franklin has played on some pretty stout defenses and with some great defensive players. He will bring that to the table and may push the other two. He may have the experience, but does he have the talent to take the number one spot on the depth chart? I am not completely convinced but I will not be surprised if Franklin takes snaps away from the starter.
Finally there is Brandon McKinney. McKinney, like Chapman, is coming off a serious knee injury that sidelined him last season. After coming over from Baltimore, many thought he would be a key cog to the defense. Well that was a short lived thought. McKinney, I think, has the biggest uphill battle out of the three nose tackles. Yes he came with Coach Pagano and he knows the defense that the Colts play because he was able to play some and learn all season long. McKinney is another veteran presence and slightly younger than Franklin but he is also someone who hasn’t really played up to the potential that he has. This is yet another toss-up. It all depends on his motor in camp and the preseason that will determine his future in Indy.
My determination is that the Colts will see the benefit to take three nose tackles into the season. All three are relatively unproven and two are coming off knee surgeries. This will be a battle to keep an eye on during camp and the preseason. The coaches will make sure that all three get enough snaps to show what they can do but the question is what will the three of them do with their time? I think taking three into the season would be beneficial but if they decide to only take two, I see McKinney as the odd man out.