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PFF Not Sold on Colts Roster

Pro Football Focus ready to pour cold water on Indianapolis Colts 2022 expectations.
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The Indianapolis Colts finished 9-8 last season after looking like a shoe-in to make the playoffs with two games to go.

The collapse in the final-two games helped convince general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich a change was needed at quarterback.

In comes four-time All Pro Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons as the marquee move of the offseason, and the Colts feel like they're ready to make a serious playoff run in 2022.

However, Pro Football Focus (PFF) isn't sold on the overall talent of the Colts' roster, placing them middle of the pack at No. 15 in their NFL Roster Rankings of all-32 teams

Despite adding Ryan, who has a chance to climb into the top five on the all-time passing yardage list, PFF lists the Colts' running game as the biggest strength of the team.

Biggest strength: The Colts were one of two NFL teams that averaged a positive EPA per play in the running game during the 2021 regular season, joining the Eagles. That's a combination of an impressive run-blocking unit and arguably the league's top running back entering the 2022 season. Jonathan Taylor‘s 1,272 rushing yards after contact last season were more than any other running back in the league had before and after contact. That run game and Indianapolis' offensive environment as a whole represents a big positive change for Matt Ryan after his past few years in Atlanta. - PFF

The strength of the Colts team should still reside with the rushing attack and the play-action passing attack it sets up for Ryan, but shouldn't the perceived upgrade at quarterback in tandem with the running game get the Colts beyond middle of the pack in PFF's roster rankings?

PFF attempts to answer that question when they list the biggest weakness for the Colts.

Biggest weakness: The Colts added a few pass-catching options in the draft in Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods, but there isn't much proven depth in their receiving corps. They'll be counting on rookies such as Pierce and the oft-injured Parris Campbell to deliver in starting roles. That could work out. Pierce is a big target who can stretch the field, as can Campbell with his speed. It's just a bit of an unknown for a team that fancies itself as an AFC contender. - PFF

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PFF is willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Pierce and Campbell, but still undersells Ryan's ability to make use of his receivers. Pierce, Woods, and Campbell teamed with Michael Pittman could be a strength of the team by the end of the season.

Pierce has been predicted to be one of the top-five rookies in the NFL as a compliment to Pittman and the Colts rushing attack.

The Colts have a very strong defense including the addition of cornerback Stefon Gilmore, and PFF believes the defense could be even stronger if second-year edge rusher Kwity Paye picks up where he left off at the end of 2021.

X factor for 2022: Kwity Paye missed some time early in his rookie season with a hamstring injury, but he bounced back to show some promise as a pass-rusher with a 71.3 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2021. Paye stands out as a potential breakout candidate entering his second season, particularly given the talent around him on that defensive line with DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart and Yannick Ngakoue. - PFF

Once he got fully healthy, Paye had five sacks in his final eight games for the Colts in 2021. If he can become a double-digit sack man in 2022, he'll indeed become the Colts X factor.

The Colts head into the 2022 season with intentions on making a run in the playoffs. 

Are they as deep and talented as the Buffalo Bills?

Probably not.

Are they better than 15th in the league when it comes to the talent assembled by Ballard.

We'd like to think so.