Sizing Up the Newest Colts

While we wait for the big game on Monday night against the Patriots, let's take a look at the Colts' rookie and otherwise new players in order of impact that are currently on the 53-man roster. Who's making a difference? Who's progressing? And who's developing slower than expected? Jerry fills you in.

Corey Simon DT
2005 stats: 7 GP, 7 GS, 14 TK, 7 AT, 2.5-3.5 TFL, 6 PR, 1 FF, 2 PD

Although his stats may not reflect it, Simon has been the difference-maker in the Colts' defense this season. Not only has the big guy occupied blockers at the line of scrimmage, freeing up the rest of the Colts linemen, but he's been getting consistent penetration and standing firm against the run. He may be the best Colts free-agent signing ever — at least since Cornelius Bennett.

Marlin Jackson CB
2005 stats: 6 GP, 13 TK, 2 AT, 1 PD, 4 ST, 1 STA

If it wasn't for a series of injuries, Jackson probably would have begun the season as a starter. He's healthy now, but with starters Nick Harper and Jason David playing so well, Jackson is limited to nickel status. In the action he's seen, he's shown that he has the quick reactions, agility and astounding strength that made him a first rounder. He needs some help on deep routes, but the Colts knew that; they picked him because he hits like a linebacker.

Darrell Reid DT
2005 stats: 3 GP, 1 TK, 2 AT, 0.5-1 TFL, 3 PR

When healthy, this undrafted free agent has joined the interior rotation and done a surprisingly good job. I don't think he'll ever be as good in the NFL as he appeared in the 2005 preseason, Reid has proven that he can step in without making his position a weak spot.

Keith O'Neill LB
2005 stats: 4 GP, 4 STT, 1 FF

Without the injuries, O'Neill would be rated higher. A rare talent as a wedge-buster and special teams tackler, the Colts have suffered greatly on coverage when he's been out. A decent backup linebacker at all three positions, if he can stay healthy, he's a keeper.

Ben Utecht TE
2005 stats: 4 GP, 1 GS, 1-26-1 REC

Since he missed 2004 with injuries, 2005 counts as his rookie season. Utecht began the season as a starter and scored a touchdown in Game 1, but injuries and inconsistent play have plagued him since then. Buried behind Dallas Clark and, now, Bryan Fletcher on the depth chart, Utecht will have to look good in practice or hope for an injury to the top two to get a chance to play again.

Dylan Gandy G
2005 stats: 7 GP

Gandy was named a starter in preseason but was sidelined and never regained the spot. He's been playing regularly on specials, but hasn't been able to displace either Ryan Lilja or Jake Scott, neither of whom is performing particularly well. It's clear the Colts believe Gandy has a future, but it does appear to be right now.

Dexter Reid S
2005 stats: 7 GP, 1 STT, 1 FF

When the season began, Mike Doss was suspended, Joseph Jefferson was injured man walking and Matt Giordano had proved in preseason he was not ready to cover NFL receivers, so the Colts brought Reid in for insurance and special teams prowess. He hasn't been a star, but he hasn't embarrassed himself either. Unless he makes some eye-popping hits, he shouldn't expect to be re-signed.

Matt Giordano S
2005 stats: 7 GP, 3 STT, 1 STA

When Giordano was drafted, the Colts knew he was raw, but I think they were surprised by exactly how unready he looked in preseason. So far, he's been doing more running around than getting anything done, but he has the speed and toughness to stick for a while.

Kelvin Hayden CB
2005 stats: 7 GP, 2 STT, 1 STA

Think of Hayden as Giordano squared. He's faster, tougher and has a bigger future, but he's even more raw and undisciplined. Once the light goes on — and I'm sure it will — Hayden should be an effective, if not top-notch, NFL starter.

Joaquin Gonzalez T
2005 stats: 4 GP

You haven't heard his name — that's a good thing. Gonzalez is nothing but depth and that's how he's played.

Jonathan Welsh DE
2005 stats: 5 GP, 1 STT, 1 STA

I know a lot of fans are disappointed by this guy, who cost the Colts a couple of premium draft choices, but the team knew he needed some time to understand the NFL game. The reasoning behind Welsh goes back to the last game of the 2004 season when Robert Mathis was out and the Colts had nobody (actually since-cut Nick Rogers) to take his place. Mathis' absence was so glaring that the Colts were desperate for a guy who could get to the QB. They liked what they saw in Welsh. Only time will tell if they were right. I wouldn't bet against them, although I did notice they signed Jonathan Goddard, a very similar player, for insurance.

Kory Chapman RB
2005 stats: 2 GP

When injuries hurt the backfield and draft choice Anthony Davis didn't work out, the Colts needed a back and they found shifty Chapman on the waiver wire. A small college star who starred in the NFL Europe, Chapman is buried on the depth chart and is unlikely to get a carry unless the Colts are up 120-0.

Sweet Pea Burns DT 
2005 stats: none

There were high hopes for this third-round pick with the quick first step, but injuries ruined his debut. By the time he healed, he found himself behind Simon, Montae Reagor, Larry Tripplett and the emergent Darrell Reid. And when veteran Josh Williams returns, the struggle will be even more rigorous. I wouldn't worry about Burns, though. His talents fit the Colts defense perfectly, and, with experience, he could easily muscle his way into a spot. His ability to play end helps. 

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