Indianapolis Colts: DT Battle to Make Roster Will Be Fierce

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts said one of the things they were going to address this offseason was going to be the defensive line. They still need some work in the defensive end area, but they did more than enough trying to help the defensive tackle spot.

Entering next month’s Training Camp, the Colts have eight more than capable players battling for what will likely be four spots on the active 53-man roster.

Indianapolis signed Ricky Jean-Francois from the San Francisco 49ers and Aubrayo Franklin from the San Diego Chargers in free agency, and drafted Montori Hughes in April’s draft.

Those three will battle Josh Chapman, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Alabama, Brandon McKinney, Martin Tevaseu, Ricardo Matthews and Kellen Heard for the four spots.

It’s likely that Francois, Franklin and Chapman will be three of the four and that final spot will be a fierce battle throughout the preseason.

Chapman is a very hard nosed player, but had a knee injury he dealt with in college. He played in the national championship game injured his last year at Alabama and required knee surgery. That procedure caused him to miss his entire rookie season. It will be interesting if he can be healthy to start the preseason.

The guys battling for these spots all have some major beef and muscle. McKinney (6-foo-2, 345-pounds), Tevaseu (6-foot-2, 325-pounds), Hughes (6-foot-4, 330-pounds) Matthews (6-foot-3, 310-pounds) and Heard (6-foot-6, 339-pounds) all are tall, athletic and strong. Any combination of one or two of them would make solid contributions to the roster.

It’s safe to say this may be one of the strongest units on the team as they have extreme talent and depth. There’s not really going to be a drop off from one to the other. It’s going to be a grind out unit that will stuff the middle on the run and open holes for a pass rush.

I like this battle throughout the preseason as it should be a fun journey to see who makes the team.


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