The Indianapolis Colts are preparing for the start of training camp next week and will be doing so as one of the most improved teams in the entire NFL from the offseason.
From trading their first-round pick for a Pro Bowl talent in DeForest Buckner to upgrading the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions, ESPN ranked the Colts as the fourth-most improved team this offseason.
Here’s what ESPN’s Mike Clay had to say about Indy’s moves:
Big additions: DT DeForest Buckner, QB Philip Rivers, RB Jonathan Taylor, CB Xavier Rhodes, WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Key losses: CB Pierre Desir, TE Eric Ebron, DE Jabaal Sheard, S Clayton Geathers
The Colts’ high grade is more a product of quality than it is quantity, especially considering that these are moves that can get Indianapolis back into contention for an AFC South title. Rivers is 38 years old but a significant upgrade over Jacoby Brissett. His line will be much better than what he had with the Chargers, and he’ll have new weapons in the form of Pittman, Taylor and tight end Trey Burton. Buckner was arguably the best player on the NFC champion 49ers’ roster last season and is a major upgrade at 3-technique.
The Colts had a relatively deep roster entering the offseason but they managed to add to that depth through free agency and the draft. There are still some areas like cornerback and safety that might need a little more depth added but for the most part, the roster looks solid.
The additions of Buckner and Rivers have been well documented this offseason. They both should have an immediate impact on their respective sides of the ball.
The rookies in Pittman Jr. and Taylor should also have immediate roles even if they could start out the season playing more complementary ball while earning more trust as the season goes on.
This will be a wild year for the Colts given everything going on but if they can stay relatively healthy, there’s a strong chance they make a run for a playoff spot.