3 position battles to watch in 2022


All the Indianapolis Colts needed to do to make the 2021 playoffs was beat the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars in the final week of the season. The team couldn’t do it, however, and it cost Carson Wentz his job. Now Matt Ryan is at the helm for 2022. The players around him in crucial positions will soon be decided. As Indianapolis Colts training camp begins, here are three positional battles to watch closely.

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Information

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Alec Pierce (#14) | Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Location: Grand Park, Westfield, Indiana

Rookie Report: Saturday, July 23, 2022

Veterans report: Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Game 1: At Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 11, 1:00 p.m. EST

Battle #1: WR2 – Parris Campbell vs. Keke Coutee vs. Alec Pierce vs. Ashton Dulin vs. Mike Strachan vs. Dezmon Patmon

Michael Pittman Jr. will be Matt Ryan’s #1 target in 2022. After that, your guess is as good as mine (or Frank Reich’s).

Ashton Dulin, Mike Strachan and Dezmon Patmon will all be wanted for playing time, but the trio have 22 catches, 290 yards and three touchdowns between them in the NFL.

The two starting points will be a battle between Parris Campbell, Keke Coutee and Alec Pierce.

Campbell is a former second-round pick who has yet to bust in his three NFL seasons. He had a strong start to the 2021 season, but a broken foot in Week 6 cost him most of his season. Coutée is in the same boat. He is incredibly dynamic on the pitch. He has never played more than nine games in a season.

Cincinnati Bearcats rookie Alec Pierce is likely the winner of the competition, as freshmen have made their mark in the NFL in recent years. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound passer will be a big, quick target and a perfect complement to Pittman.

Battle #2: LT – Matt Pryor vs. Bernhard Raimann

With Eric Fischer as a free agent, one of the top priorities of Indianapolis Colts training camp will be figuring out who will protect Matt Ryan’s blindside. The two candidates Frank Reich will choose are fourth-year veteran Matt Pryor and 24-year-old Austrian rookie Bernhard Raimann.

Pryor has 15 starts in his career, but only two at left tackle. Despite the relative inexperience, the Colts at least know Pryor is an NFL-caliber lineman, which means they’ll give him some insight into the position.

The other option is Colts third-round pick Bernhard Raimann of Central Michigan. The 6-foot-6, 303-pound Austrian grew up playing American football in Europe before coming to the United States in high school. He went to Central Michigan as a tight end but turned into a tackle.

Raimann is incredibly athletic but also massively raw. He’s the future and could even become the LT this season, but expect Pryor to start Week 1.

Battle #3: SS—Rodney McLeod vs. Nick Cross

In a similar situation to LT competition, strong safety Khari Willis retired this offseason, so veteran Rodney McLeod will compete for the position along with Maryland rookie Nick Cross.

McLeod is a 32-year veteran with 123 NFL career starts under his belt. He is a solid starting option but by no means a game breaker.

On the other hand, Cross leaps off the screen with his dynamic athleticism and great punching ability. However, the Colts’ Week 1 game is the day after his 21st birthday. Will he be ready for prime time at this age?

Much like the LT Battle, the Indianapolis Boot Camp competition for the starting SS spot will likely end with the seasoned veteran winning. However, Cross is too talented to stay off the pitch for long and could play in a small selection of sub-packages to start the year.

All statistics courtesy of Professional Football Reference

RELATED: 2022 Indianapolis Colts schedule: Full dates, times and TV info


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