Evan Hull

Colts RB Evan Hull Expected To Miss Rest Of Season

Unavailability has been a constant in the Colts’ backfield, which remains without Jonathan Taylor. The team also lost Zack Moss to a broken arm during training camp. While Moss is back, one of Indianapolis’ other backups is not expected to return this season.

Placed on IR last week, Evan Hull is likely to see his rookie season end early. The fifth-round pick suffered a torn meniscus that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season, The Score’s Jordan Schultz tweets.

With Taylor on the reserve/PUP list and Moss missing Week 1, the Colts used Hull as part of their makeshift backfield in their opener. Teaming with Deon Jackson, Hull played eight snaps in Indy’s opener. But the knee injury intervened on a third-quarter carry. As a result, the Colts will need to make more adjustments in their backfield.

Hull showed pass-catching potential during his final Northwestern season, hauling in 55 passes for 546 yards. His rookie contract runs through 2026.

In Week 2, the Colts turned to Moss almost exclusively. The 2022 trade acquisition played 98% of the Colts’ offensive snaps in the team’s win over the Texans. Jackson remains in place as a backup. Ex-Rams UDFA Jake Funk sits as the third RB on the Colts’ 53-man roster. Indianapolis also added Trey Sermon, who did not make Philadelphia’s 53-man roster in August, to its practice squad this week. Sermon and recent pickup Tyler Goodson, a 2022 Packers UDFA, reside on the Colts’ P-squad.

Taylor is out until at least Week 5. The former rushing champion requested a trade in July and is far from certain to be in a Colts uniform when first eligible, though the disgruntled back has been working out at the team’s facility. Taylor can return to practice next week, but the Colts may also revisit the trade talks that cooled ahead of the roster-cutdown deadline.

AFC South Notes: Skoronski, Colts, Hughes

The Titans’ offensive line was shorthanded for their Week 2 contest against the Chargers due to Peter Skoronski‘s absence. The first-round rookie was declared out in advance of Sunday’s game, but the reason why has since been revealed.

Skoronski underwent an appendectomy, as noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. That will lead to an absence of at least one week given his recovery including the team’s game today, though further missed games could ensue as well. The 22-year-old served as the Titans’ left guard starter in Week 1, confirming the team’s plans of using him on the inside to begin his NFL career. The No. 11 pick worked as a tackle in college, and his play at Northwestern has led to high expectations in the short- and long-term future for him on a Titans O-line which saw a number of changes this offseason.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC South:

  • The Colts made an early commitment to Anthony Richardson as their starter during his rookie season, naming him the No. 1 after a single preseason game. That move came as little surprise given owner Jim Irsay‘s remarks hinting he would see the field early and often, along with the work the team’s new coaching staff put in during the spring and summer to tailor the offense to his skillset. As SI’s Albert Breer notes, head coach Shane Steichen and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter quickly moved on from the split first-team reps approach in training camp to give full attention to Richardson (the No. 4 pick in the draft) as the focal point of the offense in part due to the limited amount of reps modern camps give teams in developing young players compared to years past.
  • Indianapolis saw Zack Moss return to the backfield on Sunday, but the team’s run game was still shorthanded with Jonathan Taylor on the PUP list and Evan Hull on injured reserve. The latter is sidelined until at least Week 6, but a lengthier absence could be in store. In spite of that, the Colts do expect Hull to be back in the fold at some point in 2023, as noted by Joel A Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. With Taylor’s future still up in the air, a return to at least a depth role would be a welcomed sight in Hull’s case.
  • In need of some in-season financial wiggle room, the Texans recently restructured the contract of defensive end Jerry Hughes, ESPN’s Field Yates notes. The 35-year-old is in the final season of his two-year Houston deal, and the move created $2.14MM in cap space. Hughes’ 2023 cap hit now sits at just over $4.1MM, though the team is also scheduled to have a cap charge of over $2MM next season due to the void years present on his pact. The Texans currently have just under $4MM in cap space to work with.

Colts Place RB Evan Hull On IR, Add G Ike Boettger; Team Worked Out RB Darrell Henderson

The Colts’ changes at running back continued Tuesday. Rookie Evan Hull is now on IR, and Jake Funk will replace him on the 53-man roster. Hull went down with a knee injury in Week 1.

In addition to the running back switch, the Colts added veteran guard Ike Boettger to their practice squad. The team worked out the ex-Bills blocker recently. Boettger spent the past five seasons in Buffalo.

At running back, this Colts operation continues to see hurdles form. Zack Moss missed most of training camp with a broken arm, and the team brought in Kenyan Drake. The seven-year veteran could not make Indianapolis’ 53-man roster. Funk played in Indy’s opener as a practice squad elevation. The former Rams UDFA is now on the Colts’ active roster.

Ex-Funk teammate Darrell Henderson also auditioned for the Colts on Tuesday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. A multiyear Rams starter, Henderson has resided in free agency since he cleared waivers following a Jaguars cut late last season. Henderson worked out for the Patriots last month, joining Leonard Fournette in that regard, but was not signed. The Pats ended up signing Ezekiel Elliott.

Henderson, 26, worked as the Super Bowl champion Rams’ primary starter in 2021, though Sony Michel ended up replacing him down the stretch. Making 21 starts between the 2020 and ’21 seasons, Henderson cleared 600 rushing yards in each and totaled 14 touchdowns in that span. The Rams used him a bit more than expected early in 2022, when the team tried to trade Cam Akers. After Akers returned to the fold, the Rams ultimately waived Henderson, who certainly hit free agency at a bad time for running backs.

Hull must miss at least four games due to this IR designation. The Colts can activate up to eight players from IR this season. The Northwestern product logged two touches in his first game. After producing an impressive 546 receiving yards in his final season with the Big Ten program, Hull will see his NFL career pause. Funk joins Deon Jackson as healthy options in Indy’s Jonathan Taylor-less backfield, with Moss finishing up a recovery from the arm break. Taylor is on the Colts’ reserve/PUP list but resides there in part because of a push to be traded. The 2021 rushing champion is believed to be healthy, and the Colts are likely to restart trade talks soon.

The Bills made some guard upgrades this offseason and released Boettger, who had started 17 games for the team during his career. Boettger, 28, made 17 of those starts between the 2020 and ’21 seasons. An Achilles tear in January 2022 sidelined Boettger for much of last season. The Bills moved on to new options this year, adding Connor McGovern, second-rounder O’Cyrus Torrence and ex-Rams starter David Edwards at guard.

Latest On Colts’ Backfield; Team Worked Out James Robinson

With Jonathan Taylor sitting on the reserve/PUP list for at least the first four games of the 2023 campaign, the Colts backfield is plenty uncertain heading into Week 1. With Zack Moss also nursing an arm injury, it sounds like even the Colts don’t know who will lead the team in carries to start the season.

[RELATED: Chris Ballard Addresses Jonathan Taylor Situation]

“I think it’s running back-by-committee,” said head coach Shane Steichen (via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star). “Whoever’s got the hot hand, let ‘em ride a little bit.”

Deon Jackson and Evan Hull are set to be the team’s two healthy RBs on Sunday against the Jaguars. Jackson has experience on his side, garnering 111 touches over the past two seasons (including 98 last season). However, the Duke product has averaged only 3.3 yards on his 81 career rushing attempts, and he’s proven to be much more productive in the passing game (including a 30-catch campaign in 2022).

Hull also projects to be more of a receiving back, but the 2023 fifth-round pick was a productive runner in college. Along with his 94 receptions (including 55 this past season), the Northwestern product collecting 2,417 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 488 carries.

As Steichen notes, Moss would be the clear RB1 if he was healthy. The former Bills draft pick had 334 yards on 69 carries in four games down the stretch while filling in for Taylor. He’s been sidelined throughout training camp and the preseason while recovering from a broken arm, and he finally returned to practice earlier this week. However, Moss isn’t expected to see a significant role as he makes up for lost time.

Considering the uncertainty on the depth chart, the front office is apparently considering options from outside the organization. Free agent running back James Robinson worked out for the Colts yesterday, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Robinson has had a busy offseason. He inked a two-year deal with the Patriots back in March but was released a few months later. He later caught on with the Giants and spent the preseason with the club before getting cut. The 25-year-old split the 2022 season between the Jaguars and Jets, collecting 476 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.

Teams are clearly still counting on the production Robinson showed during his rookie campaign. The former UDFA finished the 2020 season with 1,414 yards and 10 touchdowns. He suffered a torn Achilles at the end of the 2021 season that ended up costing him a chunk of the following campaign.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/4/23

After the Panthers got the ball rolling yesterday, a number of teams started signing draft picks to their rookie contracts today. We’ve compiled all of the four-year, later-round signings below:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks