By Brian Kalchik @RantsportsBrian on April 29, 2014
The Indianapolis Colts won the AFC South last season after losing out the Houston Texans in 2011 and 2012. Coach Chuck Pagano completed his first full season in Indianapolis after recovering from leukemia. The Colts had an historic comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card game but were trounced by New England the following week. In 2014, the Colts will look to repeat, but these five players should be put on notice.
When the Colts drafted Castonzo 22nd overall in 2011, the thought was that he could be a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle, but everything else has said otherwise. Castonzo has been nothing more than average his first three seasons, and he has been a major reason why QB Andrew Luck has been hit too much despite only being in the league for two seasons.
After signing a big free agent contract last season, outside linebacker Erik Walden has had a poor start to his Indianapolis career after breaking out with the Green Bay Packers. So far Walden has made a poor impression of a former Colt who wore No. 93 in Dwight Freeney. Walden only had three sacks last year, and that is not enough when rushing opposite Robert Mathis.
I realize that the Colts just signed WR Hakeem Nicks this offseason, but the former Giant has a lot of questions to address. After recording zero touchdowns last year and only playing on a one-year deal for Indianapolis, will Nicks bounce back and be an elite receiver again or will his stay in Indianapolis be a short one?
It might just be me, but safety Laron Landry has always been one of the biggest underachievers in recent memory. After being a top-10 pick in 2007, Landry has only made one Pro Bowl, and in his first season with the Colts, Landry did not force a turnover or grab an interception. Landry is in the second year of his four-year, $ 24 million deal, and if the performance doesn't improve, he could be gone sooner rather than later.
After the Colts traded their first-round pick this year for RB Trent Richardson, the thought was that he could team with Luck to be a great back out of the backfield. Instead, Richardson struggled in his only season. He will have to drastically improve from last year's 458 yard campaign in order to stay not just with the Colts, but to remain in the league in the coming years.
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