By Cody Strahm @CodyJStrahm on June 9, 2014
The Indianapolis Colts, looking to make the jump from playoff team to legitimate Super Bowl contender, are currently conducting OTAs this offseason. Here are five players who could prevent Indianapolis from achieving a successful 2014 campaign.
The interior of the Colts' offensive line is a weak spot for the club, and Hugh Thornton isn't helping the cause. In 12 starts at left guard last season, Thornton graded as Pro Football Focus' No. 69 overall offensive guard, most notably struggling in pass protection. The seven sacks Thornton conceded ranked third in the entire league among interior offensive linemen.
Erik Walden is not a starting-caliber outside linebacker, but projects to remain the starter opposite Robert Mathis in 2014. Though decent against the run, Walden was a completely ineffective blitzer and mediocre in coverage last year. He's a player the Colts should begin scheming to replace on the first team sometime relatively soon.
When on his game, Vontae Davis was one of the league's stoutest cornerbacks in 2013. His counterpart, Greg Toler, on the other hand, struggled in coverage. Toler, who only started seven games due to injuries, gave up three touchdowns and a 90.1 quarterback rating to opponents. He likely won't garner drastic improvement this fall.
2013 fourth-round pick Khaled Holmes is set to enter 2014 as the Colts' starting center considering Samson Satele, who was the club's starter in 2013, remains a free agent. Holmes' inexperience should at least show early on, if not the entire season.
The talent is undeniable. There's a reason Trent Richardson was nabbed with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 draft after an illustrious career at Alabama. But something just isn't clicking for Richardson as a pro, and with the Colts' subpar interior offensive line, he'll likely continue underwhelming in his third year.
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