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Previewing Colts’ RB Depth Chart Entering 2022 Season

Running back seems to be one of the Colts’ best position groups heading into the season.

While we are still about a month away from the beginning of training camp, the hype around the 2022 season for the Indianapolis Colts is already buzzing.

After an incredible collapse to end the 2021 campaign that saw the franchise embarrassed and missing the postseason for the second time in three seasons, the Colts got to work. After some big moves that include a new quarterback, pass rusher, and cornerback, Indy looks poised to make some noise as they chase their first AFC South crown since 2014.

The Colts are a team that will see plenty of new faces taking on major roles for the 2022 season. Some position battles have already been determined, while others will be up for grabs throughout training camp. The Colts are hoping this competition leads to improved play all over the field.

As was the case a season ago, it is time to preview the Colts’ depth chart as we head into the 2022 season. We will go position by position and discuss how the players stack up heading into the fall. The second position group to preview is the running backs, a group the Colts are counting on to be a focal point of their offense.

Nov 21, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) stiff-arms Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) on a run during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Taylor

2021 Stats: 332 carries, 1,811 yds (5.5 avg.), 18 TDs, 40 catches, 360 yds (9.0 avg), 2 TDs

What can you say about Taylor’s magnificent 2021 season that has not already been said. Taylor led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns in 2021 on the way to his first Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selection. His 1,272 yards after contact alone would have been enough to lead the league in rushing.

Taylor was in another stratosphere last year, carrying the Colts on his back offensively throughout the season. Teams knew the Colts were going to ride Taylor’s coattails and still could not stop the second-year back. His performance vaulted him into the conversation for best running back in the league and one of the best players in the NFL, period.

The Colts became a very run-centric team in 2021, as running the ball with Taylor gave them the best chance to win. While Taylor will still be a huge part of the Colts’ offense in 2022, the hope is to find more balance with Matt Ryan at quarterback and lessen Taylor’s workload to a degree. A more balanced offense will help keep Taylor fresh and defenses honest rather than focusing all their attention on the superstar running back.

2022 has the chance to be another monster campaign for Taylor as he continues to strike fear into the hearts of opposing defenses.

Nov 4, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (21) runs the ball while New York Jets cornerback Brandin Echols (26) defends in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Nyheim Hines

2021 Stats: 56 carries, 276 yds (4.9 avg), 2 TDs, 40 catches, 310 yds (7.8 avg), 1 TD

Hines took a step back performance-wise in 2021 for a couple of reasons. The first was due to the ascension of Taylor, as most of the rushing attempts went to the second-year back. The second was due to the quarterback, as Carson Wentz did not use the running backs much in the passing game. This, in turn, limited the opportunities for Hines to have an impact.

2022 is sure to be a different story. The Colts have acknowledged ad nauseam this offseason that they need to get Hines more involved both on the ground and in the air. They believe he is one of their most dynamic playmakers and that good things happen when the ball is in his hands.

Spring practices have indicated that they are trying to get Hines involved all over the field. Hines has been participating in position drills with both the running backs and wide receivers. In 7-on-7 work, Hines has lined up in the backfield, in the slot, and out wide, showing the versatility he brings to the offense.

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Head coach Frank Reich went as far as saying that if he played fantasy football, he would draft Hines this year. Maybe we all should do the same.

Oct 17, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans running back Phillip Lindsay (30) attempts to get past Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard (53) and Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II (23) during the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Phillip Lindsay

2021 Stats: 88 carries, 249 yds (2.8 avg), 1 TD, 4 catches, 45 yds (11.3 avg), 1 TD

Not too long ago, Lindsay was considered one of the best young running backs in the league. Lindsay started his NFL career in 2018 with back-to-back seasons with over 1,000 yards rushing with the Denver Broncos. However, an injury-riddled 2020 forced Lindsay out of the rotation and looking for a new home.

After spending 2021 with the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins, Lindsay comes to the Colts looking for an opportunity to get his career back on track. While not expected to push either Taylor or Hines for prominent roles in the Colts’ offense, Lindsay can provide a veteran presence in the Colts running back room who can fill in when called upon.

With 33 career starts, Lindsay looks to take over the role that Marlon Mack held with the Colts a season ago. Mack did not see the field much but stayed prepared and ready in case one of Taylor or Hines went down with an injury. Lindsay could see some games where he is a healthy scratch for his lack of special teams ability, but it seems he has the inside track at RB3.

Indianapolis Colts running back Deon Jackson (35) is congratulated by wide receiver Michael Pittman (11) after Jackson scored a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at NRG Stadium in Houston. Indianapolis Colts Versus Houston Texans On Sunday Dec 5 2021 At Nrg Stadium In Houston Texas

Best of the Rest

Last year, the Colts kept four running backs on the active roster throughout the season and are expected to keep four again this season. The battle for the final running back spot will be one of the competitions to watch throughout the preseason.

Deon Jackson was the Colts’ RB4 last season. While he did not see the field on offense much in 2021 (31 yards, TD), Jackson secured the roster spot because of his ability to play special teams. The Colts liked his speed, and Jackson became a core special teamer by the season’s end.

Jackson may have the edge heading into training camp, but others will be vying for that final running back spot. D’vonte Price, CJ Verdell, and Ty’Son Williams are the other running backs currently on the Colts roster. Of those three, Williams could be the most interesting as he had three starts with the Baltimore Ravens last season, rushing for 185 yds and a touchdown.

It is safe to say competition will be fierce in a crowded Colts’ running back room this preseason.

Other Colts Depth Chart Previews

Have thoughts on the Colts' RB depth chart heading into the 2022 season? Let us know in the comments section below!

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