Every year going into the NFL season, everyone is always filled with hope.
A new season means new opportunities for coaches and players alike to find success. Everyone starts back at square one with a 0-0 record and the chance to compete for a Super Bowl championship.
The Indianapolis Colts are one of the teams with very high aspirations heading into the season. While the Colts have not won the AFC South division title since 2014, Indy is focused on taking back the division crown and looking to make a deep run into the playoffs.
While the Colts may be off for the summer, that does not mean we cannot speculate on what will happen this fall. In the weeks leading up to training camp, a weekly “Colts Top 5” column will look to identify how certain players shape up as we head into 2022. From breakout candidates to those on the hot seat, we will look at various topics and which players fall into these categories.
The next topic in this series will be players who are at risk for disappointment in 2022. While these players could certainly have a big year, they will need to work extremely hard to make sure their upcoming season is not seen as a failure. Here are the top five Colts who may underperform in 2022.
WR Parris Campbell
It was only a week ago that we deemed Campbell as one of the top five players poised for a big season in 2022. So, why does he also find himself on the list of those who might be at risk for disappointment? Unfortunately, this sums up Campbell’s career up to this point.
Talent has never been the issue with Campbell. When on the field, Campbell brings a unique skill set of size and run-after-catch ability that would make him a valuable playmaker in Frank Reich’s offense. Campbell has just not seen enough action to display that.
In his three-year career, Campbell has missed the majority of it due to injury. He has only played in 15 of a possible 49 games, never playing more than seven games in any given season. Terrible injury luck has bitten him badly to start his career.
With 2022 being a contract year, it’s now or never for Campbell. If he can stay healthy, he will likely be one of the best offensive weapons the Colts have. However, if injury strikes again, it could mean the end of his time in Indianapolis.
TE Kylen Granson
As a rookie last season, Granson had a hard time seeing the field consistently. He was the third tight end behind Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox and used, specifically, as the move tight end while not seeing as many snaps in run formations. His lack of playing time resulted in only 11 catches for 106 yards during his rookie campaign.
Things could be looking up for Granson in 2022. With Doyle retiring this spring, Granson is sure to see more snaps this fall. The Colts like what they have seen from Granson, but want him to take the next step in his development.
What could hurt Granson’s chances of a breakout season is that he will not be the only one chasing snaps at tight end. The Colts used two draft picks in the 2022 NFL draft on tight ends in Jelani Woods (third round) and Andrew Ogletree (sixth round). Both rookies have impressed in spring practices and will look to push Granson for playing time. If Granson cannot prove he is worthy of the snaps, others will be ready to pick up the slack.
CB Brandon Facyson
Facyson comes to Colts after spending the first four seasons of his career out west. After spending last season with the Las Vegas Raiders, Facyson follows defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to the Colts, looking for an opportunity to become a starting cornerback in the NFL. He started nine games for the Raiders last season, collecting 55 tackles, an interception, and 13 passes defended.
However, the starting job is not a guarantee for Facyson. While it looked like Facyson would be locked in as a starter on the outside for the Colts after Indy traded cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to the Raiders, the Colts added Stephon Gilmore in the weeks after Facyson inked his deal. With Gilmore and Kenny Moore II established as two of the three starters, Facyson must battle with Isaiah Rodgers for the final starting cornerback spot.
Both Facyson and Rodgers have made plays throughout the spring practices and shown that the competition will be a fight throughout the preseason. At this point, it seems like Rodgers has the edge over Facyson as they head into training camp. While losing out the starting battle would not be the end of the world for Facyson, it would be disappointing for a player who came to Indy looking for a starting job only to be relegated to a backup once again.
DE Tyquan Lewis
Lewis had established himself as a solid contributor along the Colts’ defensive line last season. While not a full-time starter, Lewis had an impact with 2.5 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery in the first eight games of the season. However, it was on that interception against the Tennessee Titans when he suffered a season-ending knee injury that would bring his year to a screeching halt.
The Colts decided to bring back Lewis on a one-year deal during the spring to help fill out their defensive line rotation. Lewis seems to be on his way back to full health and can provide a nice piece along the defensive line when called upon. Unfortunately for Lewis, he may see his playing time drop from where it was last season.
The defensive line of the Colts has been remade for 2022. Yannick Ngakoue comes over from the Raiders and will man the defensive end position opposite Kwity Paye. The Colts are expecting Dayo Odeyingbo to take a big step forward now that he is healthy and no longer coming off a torn Achilles. The Colts also drafted two newcomers along the defensive line in Eric Johnson (fifth round) and Curtis Brooks (sixth round).
If Lewis wants to have an impact along the defensive line in 2022, he will need to show that he is healthy and can have the same type of impact he had before his injury.
WR Mike Strachan
The 2021 preseason saw quite a bit of hype for Strachan. After being picked in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Strachan impressed coaches with his combination of size and speed at the wide receiver position. Flashing in training camp and the preseason had some fans wondering if the Colts had found a late-round steal.
But once the season started, Strachan did not have much of an impact. Coming from Division II Charleston in college, it was a big jump to the pros for the rookie wide receiver as he worked on grasping an NFL route tree and the playbook. Strachan only recorded two catches for 26 yards during his rookie campaign.
2022 could be more of the same if Strachan does not show he has improved in both of the aforementioned categories. While there is no denying his physical talents, Strachan will be competing with teammates Ashton Dulin and Dezmon Patmon for the final wide receiver spots on the roster. If Strachan cannot show his improvement, there is a chance he may find himself on the sidelines yet again this season.
More Colts Top 5
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