A good share of NFL analysts believe the Colts have the thinnest roster in the league. That may be the case.
Still, Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson gives them a B-plus for their offseason, the highest grade of any AFC South team in his AFC review and a mark that ties them for the fourth-highest grade in the conference.
A snippet from Williamson’s assessment of each of our teams:
Williamson: “While I still believe the Colts will hold the first pick overall again in the 2013 draft, their offseason has been very strong.
“Just like the previous regime, the new Colts decision-makers realized that it was prudent to use their immediate resources to surround their new rookie franchise quarterback with weapons. Is the offensive line great? No, but it is improved. The Colts are adequate at running back. And Indianapolis has a go-to guy in WR Reggie Wayne to mentor a slew of young, talented pass-catchers who can grow and develop with (Andrew) Luck. Maybe the Colts even luck out and hit a home run with a guy like (receiver Donnie) Avery, who reportedly has shown off his fantastic speed at organized team activities.”
My thoughts: If Indianapolis winds up with the No. 1 pick in 2013, and there is a top quarterback rated as the draft’s top talent -- Matt Barkley anyone? -- it would be quite a healthy thing for the franchise. That pick could turn into a mother lode of picks that would help them continue to reload.
Williamson: “The two areas on the Titans' roster that still concern me are the interior offensive line and cornerback. Tennessee added (Steve) Hutchinson to start at guard, and he is still a quality player, but he isn't what he used to be and isn't a long-term fix. The other two spots on the interior are average at best. At corner, (Cortland) Finnegan, a true No. 1, is going to be missed. The Titans don't have a player to replace him, and their corner depth is questionable.”
My thoughts: I think Finnegan didn’t make a lot of plays last year and can be overrated. I like Jason McCourty a lot, but questions about corner depth are hardly unreasonable. Center Eugene Amano and right guard Leroy Harris are probably the biggest question marks on offense.
Williamson: “Not real active in free agency and possessing only six draft picks, the Jaguars aren't a very different team from February, but the additions at wide receiver are encouraging. However, they also used the 70th overall pick on a punter. If (Bryan) Anger ends up being Ray Guy, fine. Otherwise, that is awfully early to draft a punter for a team that wasn't lacking for offseason needs.
My thoughts: I think they could have upgraded offensive line depth and it’s an area that could come back to bite them, and my feelings about Anger as a third-rounder are well documented. I like the Justin Blackmon/Laurent Robinson additions at receiver and Chad Henne as the new backup quarterback.
I’d include a new coaching staff in offseason developments, and score the Jaguars higher because of that.
Williamson: “Maybe there is more to it than we know, but the release of Winston was one of the most peculiar moves that happened during the free-agency process. Houston had the best offensive line in the league in 2011 and allowed the entire right side to depart. (Third-round guard Brandon) Brooks is an enticing prospect, but it's highly unlikely that the Texans are going to be as good up front on offense as they were a year ago.”
My thoughts: Williamson questions the release of right tackle Eric Winston, which was a money saver. If the team can get solid play from Rashad Butler or Derek Newton and the savings help ensure the team can re-sign guys like Connor Barwin and Duane Brown, perhaps we’ll determine it was worth it.