Few surprises on Colts' initial depth chart

There's a reason it's unofficial, it can change overnight, but the first listing of player positions has most lined up as expected.

ANDERSON, Ind. — Anyone looking for surprises on the Indianapolis Colts’ initial depth chart for 2015 will be disappointed.

There aren’t many, if any. But the player position rankings released Tuesday is unofficial, which means it can and most likely will change from one week to the next.

The Colts are basically saying here’s where guys are slotted for now, four days before the exhibition season begins with a 1 p.m. preseason road game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

What stands out? Let’s start with listing an offensive set with two tight ends instead of three wide receivers. Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener are starting tight ends. As a result, many will wonder who the team’s No. 3 wide receiver will be after T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson. Rookie Phillip Dorsett and Donte Moncrief are listed as backups. The Colts are expected to use a lot of three- and four-wide formations this season, which could also involve rookie wide receiver Duron Carter.

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The O-line appears as has been witnessed at Anderson University training camp with Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, Lance Louis at left guard, Khaled Holmes at center, Todd Herremans at right guard and Jack Mewhort at right tackle.

Because the Colts used 11 different O-line combinations last season, it’s worth mentioning the suggested second-string blockers are Joe Reitz at left tackle, Hugh Thornton at left guard, Jonotthan Harrison at center, David Arkin at right guard and rookie Denzelle Good at right tackle.

Good is a seventh-round pick out of the small college Mars Hill, so the fact he’s listed second string might raise eyebrows. Tackle Ulrick John was a seventh-round pick a year ago, but spent his rookie season on injured reserve.

The running back pecking order, for now, is Frank Gore, Daniel Herron, Zurlon Tipton, Vick Ballard, Josh Robinson, Tyler Varga and Abou Toure.

On defense, new outside linebacker Trent Cole is the rush linebacker with second-year pro Jonathan Newsome his backup. Erik Walden is at strong-side linebacker with 2013 first-round choice Bjoern Werner the backup.

Who lines up where at linebacker will change when Robert Mathis returns in late September or early October, based on owner Jim Irsay’s suggested timeline. Mathis, whose 111 career sacks are a franchise record, would be the rush linebacker and Cole would shift to the strong side, although the Colts might keep Walden there on run downs and substitute in Cole. As it is now, expect Newsome to sub in for Walden in pass-rush situations.

Newsome led the Colts with 6.5 sacks as a rookie. Walden also had a decent year with a career-high 6 sacks. But Cole has 85.5 sacks in 10 seasons, so he must be on the field in pass-rush situations.

The defensive line is as expected: Kendall Langford at defensive end, Josh Chapman at nose tackle and Arthur Jones at defensive tackle. The backups are rookie Henry Anderson at defensive end, Montori Hughes at nose tackle and Zach Kerr at defensive tackle.

Join our forum conversations: Where do Colts rank? Should Colts be more nasty in practices? How confident are you in Mewhort at right tackle?

D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman are the inside linebackers. Nate Irving, who has participated in just walk-throughs at camp as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, is listed as a backup along with rookie Amarlo Herrera, a sixth-round pick out of Georgia.

That Herrera is slotted as a backup is noteworthy considering that’s ahead of last year’s second-string backer, Henoc Muamba, one of the team’s Canadian Football League finds.

The secondary starts with the same three guys from a year ago in cornerbacks Vontae Davis, Greg Toler and nickel back Darius Butler. Then comes third-round pick D’Joun Smith, Jalil Brown and Sheldon Price. Brown has a team-high five interceptions at camp.

Mike Adams is the strong safety and Dwight Lowery at free safety. Rookie Clayton Geathers, a fourth-round pick, backs up Lowery while Colt Anderson is slotted behind Adams. The other two safeties are reserves Dewey McDonald and Winston Guy.

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The “Fourth Down Army” is intact with kicker Adam Vinatieri, punter Pat McAfee and long snapper Matt Overton.

Herron is the kickoff returner and Dorsett the punt returner. Dorsett is listed as the backup kickoff returner while Carter is the backup punt returner.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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