Colts at Each Offensive Position Who Could Surprise in Training Camp

There are players at each offensive position group who could surprise some people in training camp for the Colts.
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The Indianapolis Colts have a young, well-rounded roster heading into the 2021 season.

Between some obvious superstars and early-round draft picks who obviously factor into the team's future, it's easy to tell who you should keep an eye on this season.

However, there are other more subtle names lurking in the bushes just waiting for their chance to make an impact.

When training camp begins this July, you'll want to monitor these lesser-known Colts players who could surprise some people.

Today, we've given an example in each position group starting with the offense.

Nov 27, 2020; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11) passes the ball as Iowa State Cyclones linebacker O'Rien Vance (34) tries to defend during an NCAA college football game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

QUARTERBACK

Sam Ehlinger

The Colts drafted Ehlinger in the sixth round this spring which normally wouldn't sound very convincing in being a potential standout. However, one big thing that he has in his corner is that none of his competition to become the Colts' backup quarterback has any NFL experience either.

Fellow quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Jalen Morton both entered the league last year but didn't see the field. With this in mind, the backup spot behind starter Carson Wentz is wide open.

Eason has the advantage of being in the Colts' system for a year already but wasn't as polished of a product entering the NFL as Ehlinger. Ehlinger having 40-plus starts at a major program like Texas means he's seen quite a bit, plus he's got more mobility to get himself out of trouble.

In training camp and the preseason, if Ehlinger is struggling as a passer, his mobility can save him. This could be a big factor in his battle with Eason as it could make the difference in the Colts deciding what they could do at the position if Wentz were to get hurt during the season.

Do you go with the guy in Ehlinger who you can call designed runs for and who can routinely get out of the pocket, or do you go with the more talented passer in Eason who struggles to evade pressure?

Sep 29, 2018; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Mike Rose (23) and defensive back D'Andre Payne (1) and TCU Horned Frogs running back Darius Anderson (6) in action during the game at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

RUNNING BACK

Jet Anderson

Almost all of the talk about a dark horse running back emerging for the Colts this offseason has been about rookie undrafted free agent Deon Jackson, but I think an even better option could be the second-year tailback nicknamed "Jet."

Anderson spent all of the 2020 season with the Colts, mostly on the practice squad, so they already know what he can do. They decided to keep him around all year, called him up for the final two games of the season, and signed him to a futures deal following the season. Clearly, they like what they see.

Coming out of TCU, I noted Anderson as a speedy outside runner who was capable of making defenders miss and had quality vision. Like Jackson, he is also a good pass-catcher and can also contribute in the return game.

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WIDE RECEIVER

Mike Strachan

Strachan hails from Division II's University of Charleston, but he isn't just some raw, big, athletic small-school prospect. On more than one occasion, general manager Chris Ballard and the Colts have suggested that Strachan isn't as raw as most people assume.

During on-field work at OTAs, the Colts appeared to be throwing Strachan right into the mix to see what he could handle. He blended in alongside players who will be considered starters once the season gets going, and he did quite well. Don't read into that as Strachan being a starter because it's likely far from the truth, but the Colts don't seem to be worried about forcing some drawn-out acclimation period for him.

At 6'5", 224 with terrific arm length, the rookie has a beyond-above-average catch radius, and he's got plenty of speed to create a scary blend of talent once it's put all together in the form of an NFL player. Will that be in 2021? We'll see. Regardless, the ingredients are there.

Tight end Noah Togiai (81) is taken down during Oregon State University's spring football game at Reser Stadium in Corvallis on April 20, 2019. Osu Spring Game Mr19

TIGHT END

Noah Togiai

The Colts poached Togiai from the Philadelphia Eagles last summer when they claimed him off waivers during roster cuts. The Eagles reportedly wanted to try and stash him away on the practice squad, but the Colts swooped in.

Coming into the NFL in 2020 as an athletic tight end prospect with a good bit of potential, he was active for four games with the Colts but was targeted just once.

There is almost zero question that the Colts' top three tight ends will be Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, and Kylen Granson, but does a fourth tight end make his way onto the roster?

Togiai makes a compelling case as the Colts kept him around all year knowing that he probably wasn't going to make an instant impact. There are other intriguing options such as Jordan Thomas, who has started 12 games in the NFL over three years, or Farrod Green, who spent all season on the Colts practice squad in 2020.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Will Holden

Holden has bounced around quite a bit in his four-year career, but the 52 snaps that he played in a start for the Colts late in 2020 were enough to make a lasting impression.

The Colts were hurting at left tackle when they picked Holden off of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad and started him during a critical game in December. He allowed 2 pressures in 25 pass blocks but the Colts know how to adjust when they're not at full strength along the line. Holden certainly wasn't the reason they lost that game on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While the Colts signed Julién Davenport as a backup tackle this offseason, Holden is likely a better option for them.

Sep 29, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions offensive linesmen Will Fries (71) blocks during the fourth quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State defeated Penn State 27-26. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE

Will Fries

The Colts may have gotten a steal in the seventh round of this year's draft when they selected Fries out of Penn State.

A veteran who has started 42 games and played 3,045 snaps at left tackle, right tackle, left guard, and right guard, the Colts are likely able to throw him in wherever they need.

The Colts aren't exactly rolling in it when it comes to offensive line depth, as Fries joins a group that possesses few "slam dunks" behind the five starters.

If Fries adjusts to the NFL like he has everywhere else in his career and adapts quickly, it shouldn't take long for him to start reminding people of former Colts utility lineman Joe Haeg.

Who are your surprise offensive players in this year's training camp? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!

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