So here's a quick look at some of the jobs up for grabs on offense heading into training camp:
Quarterback: Like it or not, the Colts need a guy to take the snap or two Peyton Manning misses every year. For the past few years, Jim Sorgi has done a credible job, but he's in his walk year and faces his first real competition from stronger-armed John Navarre. If Navarre can show some ability to avoid the rush, Sorgi could find himself a free agent earlier than he thought. The loser of the competition will probably be too expensive and have too little upside to kept around as a No. 3. If the team does keep a third guy (and they usually don't), it'll be either Josh Betts or Mike McGann, with Betts the favorite.
Running back: Okay, we all know Joseph Addai is the undisputed starter, but he's never carried the load in college or the pros. What if he were to falter or get hurt? The news isn't good. DeDe Dorsey is a good, elusive runner, but lacks size and strength and he didn't play much as a rookie. Kenton Keith was a CFL star, but had a major fumbling problem and may not have the stuff to be an NFLer. The Colts have been looking for a big back. They have one in Luke Lawton, but his running and receiving skills are marginal and I'm not even sure how good a blocker he is. The draft yielded nothing, but Clifton Dawson and Chris Morgan signed as free agents. They both put up big numbers in college, but weren't exactly playing against NFL talent. Any of these guys could make the opening-day roster, or they could just as easily be replaced by waiver-wire pickups.
Wide receiver: When they have the talent around, the Colts prefer to play three wide receivers most of the time, making the third wideout (or slotback) a de facto starter. With all-everything receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne having a vise-like grip on the top two spots, the No. 3 spot will be fought over by top draft pick Anthony Gonzalez, holdover Aaron Moorehead and practice squadder Devin Aromashadu. Unless he totally stumbles, the job belongs to Gonzalez. After four years on the roster and little production, Moorehead faces tough competition for a roster spot by youngsters like Aromashadu, rookie Roy Hall, free agent Craphonso Thorpe and many others.
Tight end/H-back: When the Colts don't go with three wides, they almost always have two tight ends (or, to be technical, a tight end and an H-back). The obvious answer is that the Colts already have two tight ends who have more than enough ability to start or even star in the NFL in Dallas Clark and Ben Utecht. The problem is that neither of them can be trusted to be in one piece on game day. The Colts have Bryan Fletcher in reserve, but he's no more than a part-timer. The Colts signed Mike Seideman, who has starting talent but is even more injury prone than Clark and Utecht. He'll fight with intriguing college free agents Johnny Harline and Gijon Robinson for a roster spot. An ability to play fullback, special teams and other positions. Hall, who weighs in at almost 230 pounds, could also show up here.
Tackle: Heading into the draft, no position seemed as solid for the Colts as tackle. The starters were set in stone — Glenn on the left and Ryan Diem on the right — and the No. 3 guy, Charlie Johnson, was clearly able to step in and perform as needed. Then the Colts went and traded their 2008 first-round pick for the right to draft Tony Ugoh. Glenn, Diem and Johnson are safe this year — Ugoh will spend his rookie season at guard — but Glenn will be playing for a 2008 contract, most likely in another city. Holdover reserves Daniel Federkeil and Michael Toudouze will have to show massive improvement over the summer to avoid the practice squad or unemployment.
Guard: Here's an oddity, two spots and five potential starters. Jake Scott and Ryan Lilja are good enough players, but both are unrestricted free agents after the 2007 season. Luckily, the Colts have prodigal starter Rick DeMulling, rookie prospect Ugoh and sometime starter Dylan Gandy in the wings. While Ugoh's future is at left tackle, he'll pay his rookie dues at guard, anyway. Any combination of those five could emerge as the top two, but no matter what happens, expect to see Ugoh to get more playing time and Lilja and/or Scott to get less as the season progresses.
Center: Jeff Saturday will be snapping for the Colts until he can snap no more. His back-up will be one of the guard prospects who isn't starting (all but Ugoh have played center before) or holdover Albert Bimper.