Colts Rumors

Four Teams Work Out DB Will Blackmon

Veteran defensive back Will Blackmon worked out for the Seahawks, Browns, Colts, and Falcons recently, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Blackmon will turn 34 in October, but he impressed in his workouts and Garafolo gets the sense that he’ll land with a team after the draft. 

Blackmon appeared in 30 out of 32 possible appearances for the Redskins between 2015 and 2016, including 16 starts, but missed Washington’s final cut in 2017. Blackmon auditioned for the Colts in November, but did not sign with a team last season.

The veteran offers experience at both safety and cornerback. Blackmon played almost exclusively at corner between 2013 and 2015, but shifted to safety in ’16 when the Redskins added Josh Norman. The move to safety suited him well as he earned his best marks ever from Pro Football Focus. PFF placed him as the 32nd in the league at the position in that season, ahead of notables like Shawn WilliamsBradley McDougald, and T.J. Ward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Where Are Colts Biggest Areas Of Need In The Draft?

  • The Colts will have four selections inside the first 49 picks in the upcoming draft, which is good because they could use help at nearly every position outside of quarterback and their specialists. Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star breaks down where the team is in most need, though, with wide receiver, linebacker and offensive line ranking as the top three. Rounding out the top five were defensive line and defensive back. The Colts moved back to the No. 6 overall pick in the first round in a trade with the Jets.

Ex-Colts HC Chuck Pagano To Take Season Off From Coaching

  • Former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano plans to take this season off from coaching and work as a consultant for the NFL, according to Troy Renck of Denver 7, ABC. Pagano was fired this offseason after the Colts missed the playoffs for a third straight season. Frank Reich has since been hired as the team’s head coach.

Malik Hooker Not A Lock For Week 1?

  • Malik Hooker joined his Colts teammates for the start of their offseason program earlier this month but said (via Matt Taylor of Colts.com) he’s “not 100 percent by any means” as he recovers from a severe knee injury. Colts.com’s Andrew Walker writes training camp isn’t a certainty for the 2017 first-rounder, who went down in late October of last year with a torn ACL and MCL.

AFC South Rumors: Colts, Texans, Draft

Could the Colts move back yet again in the first round? Colts GM Chris Ballard won’t rule out trading the No. 6 pick.

We will be open to moving back if we think it is the right thing for us to do and there’s enough players on the board, depending on how far we have to move back, that we feel comfortable taking,” the GM said (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).

The Colts already have extra ammo in the draft thanks to their swap with the Jets. In exchange for moving down from No. 3 to No. 6, the Colts now own three picks in the second round – their original selection at No. 36, plus picks at No. 37 and No. 49.

Here’s more from the AFC South:

Dwight Freeney Retires From NFL

Dwight Freeney is calling it a career. After 16 seasons in the NFL, Freeney will sign a one-day contract with Indianapolis to retire as a member of the Colts. 

Freeney entered the league as the No. 11 pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Since then, he has racked up seven Pro Bowl nods, three first-team All-Pro selections, and a Super Bowl ring.

Freeney, 38, will be best remembered for his time in blue and white, where he amassed 107. 5 sacks across eleven seasons. All in all, he has 125.5 career sacks to his credit, tying him for 17th all-time in NFL history.

The Colts averaged 11 wins per year during Freeney’s run with the Colts and had 11 sacks in his 22 playoff games with the team. Many thought the Colts were reaching when they selected Freeney in ’02, but he turned out to be the perfect fit for first-year head coach Tony Dungy.

Bill [Polian] had seen Dwight and thought he was exactly the guy I had been talking about,” Dungy said of Freeney. “We’re sitting at No. 11 in the first round and people looked at his size and thought it was too high to draft him. Bill, to his credit, said, ‘If this is going to be the big piece of the puzzle, let’s not worry about where we take Dwight and what other people think. Let’s get the guy who is going to be the perfect piece.’ Dwight was the straw that stirred the drink.”

The Syracuse product played in three Super Bowls — two with the Colts, one with the Falcons — and started in 19 postseason games. All seven of Freeney’s double-digit sack seasons came with the Colts.

Following his Colts run, which ran through the 2012 season, Freeney played with five more teams. His most notable post-Indianapolis season came with the 2015 Cardinals, for whom he registered eight sacks and helped to the NFC title game despite being an off-the-bench edge rusher. He recorded three sacks in each of the past two seasons, playing in Atlanta, Seattle and Detroit. Prior to Arizona, Freeney spent two seasons in San Diego.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Host DT Chris Jones

The Colts worked out free agent defensive tackle Chris Jones on Tuesday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Jones, not to be confused with the Chiefs defensive tackle of the same name, has bounced around the NFL since entering the league as a sixth-round pick in 2013. His most notable action came from 2013-14, when he started 22 total games for the Patriots, and in 2016, when he appeared in 13 games during stints on the Dolphins’ and 49ers’ rosters.

Jones, 27, has been productive before, as he managed nine sacks from New England’s interior from 2013-14. But injuries have derailed his career: a torn calf muscle forced Jones to miss the entire 2015 campaign, while an undisclosed ailment led to Jones spending the 2017 season on injured reserve.

The Colts, meanwhile, can use help along the interior of their defensive line after cutting Johnathan Hankins earlier this year. Indianapolis ranked just 31st in adjusted sack rate in 2017, so Jones and his interior rushing ability could buoy the club’s front four. If signed, Jones would slot in alongside fellow tackles Henry Anderson, Al Woods, Grover Stewart, Anthony Johnson, and Caraun Reid.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Sign CB Kenneth Acker

The Colts annoucned the signing of cornerback Kenneth Acker. Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s probably not a costly contract for Indianapolis.

Acker has played in 40 career games, including 15 starts, over the course of his four-year NFL career with the Chiefs (2016-17) and 49ers (2014-15). The Seahawks also showed some interest in him before he landed in Indy.

The Colts lost Rashaan Melvin in free agency this year when he joined with the Raiders, leaving them with a lack of depth at cornerback. Acker probably isn’t in line for a starting job, but he can offer support from the bench, along with the recently re-signed Pierre Desir.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/9/18

Here are today’s minor moves.

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: OL Joseph Cheek
  • Signed: OL Larson Graham
  • Signed: OL Parker Collins

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Colts Host Austin Howard On Visit

Austin Howard has been a starting right tackle for most of his NFL career, and he’s looking for a fourth employer. More interest is coming the free agent’s way.

The Colts visited with Howard, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (Twitter link). This marks Howard’s second visit since the Ravens declined his option last month. The Saints also met with the 31-year-old blocker, doing so last week.

While Anthony Castonzo has manned the left side for most of this decade, Indianapolis has not had much continuity at right tackle in recent years. The Colts re-signed Jack Mewhort to stay at one guard position and added Matt Slauson to likely start opposite him. However, the team still has uncertainty at right tackle.

Howard started at right tackle for the Raiders from 2015-16, doing so after a failed experiment at guard in 2014, and was the Ravens’ first-stringer there last season. Pro Football Focus graded Howard well, despite the veteran having been a Raiders cut because of injury concerns. Howard finished last season as PFF’s No. 36 tackle with a grade well north of anyone the Colts tried there.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.