AFC South: Charlie Williams
Wells: You can't count out Ahmad Bradshaw based off how he played in his brief time on the field before getting injured last season. ESPN NFL Insider Jim Trotter had an interesting nugget recently. He wrote on Twitter that Trent Richardson, according to coaches, is relying more on his instincts when running instead of thinking it through and he has a chance to be a "three-down player." I'd say at this point -- and mind you, so much can change over the next few months -- that you have to think Richardson and Bradshaw are the frontrunners.
@MikeWellsNFL who do you personally think to be the starting running back for the Indianapolis Colts next season? How does TR look?— Mason Ross (@Sauce_Ross) June 19, 2014
Wells: The outside linebacker position is simply Bjoern Werner's to lose. Play well and the starting position is his. Struggle and it'll be open competition for Robert Mathis' spot during his absence. You can't really get a good indication on how a player looks based off drills where they're not wearing pads or going full speed. A better indicator will be once the pads go on in training camp.
@MikeWellsNFL How's Bjoern Werner looking? Does he look ready to take on an increased role with Mathis out?— Tommy Bond (@TommyN_Bond) June 19, 2014
Wells: Donte Moncrief will be given the opportunity to be the Colts' fourth receiver, but don't be surprised if he's not a major contributor next season. Here's what offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton had to say about Moncrief during minicamp. "He is big, fast and smart. He has the tools to be a legitimate down the field threat. He's been working his tail off with [receivers] coach [Charlie] Williams to learn the offense and more importantly, develop continuity with our quarterback. He's done some good things over the course of the offseason program and expect that he'll pick up where he leaves off in training camp."
@MikeWellsNFL is moncrief more of a project guy or do you think he is actually going to contribute other than ST?Longterm starter potential?— Nathaniel J. Ford (@n8james4d) June 19, 2014
That’s how new Indianapolis Colts receiver Hakeem Nicks views things. He has no interest in talking about his last season with the New York Giants, one where he didn’t catch a touchdown pass for the first time in his five-year NFL career.
Nicks is excited about the opportunity to catch passes from quarterback Andrew Luck (who wouldn’t be excited?), being reunited with Chuck Pagano, who was the defensive coordinator at the University of North Carolina when Nicks was a sophomore, and teaming with Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton to give the Colts a “three-headed monster” at receiver.
Nicks considers himself another piece for the Colts as they attempt to close the gap between them and Denver and New England in the AFC. Nicks will team with Hilton and Wayne at receiver to go with tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen.
“I heard a lot of good things about [the Colts] -- obviously what they’ve got going and the direction that they’re moving in,” Nicks said. “I feel like it was the best fit for me just to come in and complete the piece of the puzzle to try to compete for a Super Bowl this year.”
ESPN.com Giants reporter Dan Graziano wrote Friday night that Nicks lacked incentive when he had 896 yards receiving and no touchdowns last season with the Giants. Nicks, according to Graziano, frustrated the coaches because he couldn’t make plays in the passing game.
Nicks, who signed a one-year deal, had no interest in talking about whether he needed to have a bounce-back season to silence the doubters. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011.
“I don’t think there’s anything for me to prove,” he said. “I think I just want to go out there and play football and win championships. My play speaks for itself. I've always believed in working in silence and letting your game speak loud, so that’s what I do. They’ll see and then all start making speculations again.”
One thing that still has to get resolved with Nicks is what number he’ll wear. He wore No. 88 with the Giants, but that number is retired with the Colts; Marvin Harrison wore it during what will end up as a Hall of Fame career.
“I don’t think we've quite figured that one out yet,” Nicks said. “Everybody knows I love those eights on my chest, but we’ll have to see how that pans out.”