Saturday, June 25, 2022

Colt’s editor projects where offensive rookies stand after minicamp

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The Indianapolis Colts did not have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but the Colts selected wide receiver Alec Pierce in the second round. Indianapolis then added tight end Jelani Woods and offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann in the third round.

All three attacking players are key players for the team this season.

After the minicamp ended, Colts Wire editor Kevin Hickey projects two of the top three offensive draft picks for Indianapolis this year to compete for starting jobs and one of them to get a starting role.

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On June 11, Hickey projected the Colts’ overall starting lineup on offense based on the team’s performance during the OTAs and minicamp. He predicts Pierce will start at the Z-wide receiver spot.

“He won’t be awarded the starting role, but Pierce put in such a strong job in the spring that it could be his job to lose him when training camp rolls around,” Hickey wrote. “The Colts have been very impressed with his work so far.”

In the second week of OTA on June 1, head coach Frank Reich said the entire wide receiver group was looking good. He was very flattering to former second-round pick Parris Campbell, who will compete with Pierce for the starting Z wide receiver role.

But Reich was equally flattering to Pierce, revealing how the team is pushing him to potentially be a starter this fall.

“He’s a very smart guy,” Reich said. “He learned the offense really quickly. He did a good job.”

ESPN NFL writer Mike Clay has higher expectations of Pierce than just getting started. On June 3, Clay predicted that Pierce would finish in the top five rookie receivers in reception.

Hickey predicts Campbell will start this season as a slot wide receiver.

One of the biggest battles for position of training camp for the Colts will likely come in left tackle. Indianapolis re-signed veteran Matt Pryor, who started five games last season, and then drafted Raimann in the third round.

Hickey expects Pryor to start the season as the team’s starting left, but also wrote that the competition for that position is far from over.

“Rookie Bernhard Raimann still has a chance of getting the job in the training camp and in the pre-season,” wrote Hickey. “But when we project, we have to start from the information we have in front of us. By the looks of it, Pryor took over the majority – if not all – of the first team representatives in the left tackle this spring.

Reich praised Raimann when he spoke to the media in the last OTA week on June 1st.

“Bernhard did a really, really good job,” Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters. “Really smart, really dedicated, really athletic for the position.

“Obviously it’s only been a short time so far, but he’s made a very good first impression.”

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Pryor in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He has made 15 starts in his three-year NFL career, five of which have been tackles.

Either Pryor or Raimann will replace two-time Pro Bowler Eric Fisher, whom the Colts were allowed to keep free this offseason.

Reich praised Raimann when he spoke to the media in the last OTA week on June 1st.

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