Colts Build for the Future

Indianapolis has yet to play a game in the playoffs in the 2007 season, but they're already looking forward to 2008, signing a tight end and and a wide receiver to next season's roster. Who are they and how they can help the Colts?

The Colts made two moves Wednesday, signing tight end Zac Herold and wide receiver Courtney Roby to the 2008 roster.  These moves are considered "future contracts" that kick in when 2008 begins after Super Bowl XLII.

Herold and Roby cannot be added to the 53-man roster for the remainder of the 2007 season, up through the Super Bowl, but they also cannot be signed by another team to a 2008 contract.

Roby played college ball at Indiana and was originally drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the third round (68th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Courtney Roby
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

He saw limited action during his rookie season, appearing in 13 games with 21 receptions for 289 yards and one touchdown.  He also returned 22 kickoffs for 495 yards.

In 2006, he fell out of favor with the coaching staff and, while still seeing action in 13 games, registered only two catches for 28 yards with no kickoff returns.  He was released in September, picked up by Cincinnati, saw time on their practice squad, and was released on Oct. 29 by the Bengals.

At 6 feet, 193 pounds, he's certainly a good fit size-wise for the Indianapolis receiving corps.  Aside from the fact that he finished his college career as the all-time leading receiver in Hoosier history, he impressed scouts at the NFL Combine with a 4.41 time in the 40-yard dash, which all lead to him being drafted early in the third round. Since then though, he has struggled with consistency and it speaks volumes that the receiver-depleted Titans were willing to part ways with a former first-day draft choice so early in his tenure with the team.

He will turn 25 next Thursday, which is still fairly young for a player with his NFL experience — it should be noted that he has more career receptions than Craphonso Thorpe and Devin Aromashodu combined and only 13 fewer career receptions than Anthony Gonzalez — and, aside from Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, the Colts are surprisingly lean on experience at the position.  If nothing else, Roby will provide necessary competition for the young talent that the Colts have at wideout during OTAs and training camp next offseason.

Zac Herold
AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Herold has had a bumpy ride since he left the University of Nebraska at Omaha and declared for the 2007 NFL Draft.

He saw all seven rounds pass by without hearing his name called, was quickly signed as a free agent by San Francisco, released by the 49ers in the final cutdown to 53, signed to their practice squad, released, signed to the Saints practice squad, released on Nov. 27, signed to the Buccaneers practice squad, then released on Dec. 18, signed to the Colts practice squad, then released on Dec. 29 before subsequently signing a 2008 contract with Indianapolis.

He's a big prospect at 6 feet, 5 inches, 265 pounds, but a substandard 40 time (4.94), injury history concerns, and the fact that he only registered 69 receptions throughout his entire college career led to him going undrafted.

He has considerable upside as a blocker, but struggles to stretch the seam as he lacks top-end speed.   But, since Indianapolis has shown a tendency to run the ball more often, yet not regularly keep a fullback on the regular roster, and Ben Utecht and Bryan Fletcher won't be on the roster forever, he's definitely worth a shot and has a strong chance to make next year's roster.

For a team without any glaring needs that is mostly looking to add depth, these two players could serve the Colts well next season.  However, there is still the small matter of this year's postseason to attend to first.

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