Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it isn't true. Brown was dubbed by many pundits as a luxury pick for the Colts in the first round of this year's draft. He is fighting that label in addition to fighting Joseph Addai and Mike Hart for touches. He has the skills and the support of his coaches to make it happen, but the onus is now on him to deliver.
As the team's top draft choice, Brown will receive plenty of attention this fall
AP Photo/Tom Strattman
The big question entering camp is whether or not he can pass block, which is a key component of playing the running back position for Indianapolis. Hart made considerable strides last year and the hope is that Brown can make a similar leap, if not a better one.
At this point, he needs to show improvement and learn the system, but he'll be asked to do a lot more when the preseason opens and as the regular season progresses. Is he up to it? He better be in order to shake that "luxury" tag.
2. Austin Collie:
Collie was, without a doubt, the star rookie of the recent minicamp and flashed the ability the Colts saw when they took him in the fourth round this year. The battle for the third receiver position is already starting to take shape with Taj Smith and Sam Giguere slowed by injuries and Roy Hall still failing to take advantage of his potential.
Pierre Garcon still presents a formidable challenge, given that he has a year in the system, but he may find that he's better suited as a return specialist and fourth receiver than a slot guy.
Even if Collie continues to develop and impress, he still has a season in front of him where the pads and hits will be fierce. No matter how well he does in practice, it still needs to translate to the field.
As Anthony Gonzalez discovered during his rookie season, being prepared is only half the battle, with performance being the other half. It will be interesting to track how he responds.
3. Terrance Taylor:
While it would be very presumptive to assume that Fili Moala will slide into the lineup unchallenged, the fact remains that he has a unique skill set and some very impressive physical attributes that should make his trek onto the 53-man roster much easier.
There is a log jam of players at the defensive tackle position with Taylor's measurables and skills. Antonio Johnson, Daniel Muir, and Ed Johnson are all about Taylor's height and weight, and all three of Taylor's competitors have more experience in the system and more goodwill built up among the coaches — especially since John Teerlinck was retained in the coaching turnover that has been a part of Jim Caldwell's young regime.
Taylor needs to show something to separate himself from the pack; whether it be an ability to collapse the pocket, penetrate behind the line of scrimmage, or simply hold the point of attack more aggressively than Muir or the Johnsons. Moala has a tough road ahead of him, no doubt, but Taylor's is significantly more cluttered.
4. Curtis Painter:
Can he convince the Indianapolis staff to keep three quarterbacks? Can he be the heir apparent to Jim Sorgi? Could he possibly be the quarterback of the future?
Painter has plenty of potential, but he'll have to perform to make the team
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Painter has done little to answer these questions thus far, but he is still well-positioned to make an impact. The Colts must realize that Sorgi is not the future and, more to the point, they will need to eventually prepare for life without Peyton Manning.
Painter has all the tools and posted some strong numbers as a junior, but struggled as a senior at Purdue. He needs to learn the offense, trust his abilities, and become Manning's shadow, scooping up every nugget of wisdom that the veteran quarterback drops.
It could very well be that Painter puts up a good fight and still ends up on the practice squad, but there is a very real possibility that he could make himself valuable enough that the Colts won't want to risk placing him on waivers in September. If he can get to that point, it should be considered a victory.
5. Pat Kuntz:
With the departure of Darrell Reid and a renewed emphasis on special teams, Kuntz has a unique opportunity to seize a roster spot. He has the right size, mentality, and enough athleticism to fill Reid's shoes covering kicks.
The unfortunate thing for Kuntz is that he also needs to establish himself at defensive tackle. If he makes the roster, he will make it either as a tackle or an end, basically wherever the Colts think they can squeeze him in if he shows enough in the kicking game.
Given the crowded depth chart at tackle, Kuntz will probably have to adjust on the fly and see if he can get some snaps in practice at end, where there are only four incumbents — Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Curtis Johnson, and Marcus Howard — and more spots available.
By taking advantage of his abilities and flexibility, he can make things very interesting when the time comes to make cuts. It's up to him to prove that he can be a valuable addition to the team.
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