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Former Big 12 Star Might Not Make Colts 53-Man Roster

Third-string quarterback Sam Ehlinger could lose his spot on the Indianapolis Colts 53-man roster this year.

Like every NFL team, the Indianapolis Colts must trim their roster to 53 players before the regular season starts. Will Sam Ehlinger make the cut?

During training camp and the preseason, the former Texas Longhorn will compete for Indy’s emergency third quarterback spot. It won’t shock the world if he keeps his job and makes the 53-man roster. But it also won’t be surprising if he gets beat out by someone else.

Former Big 12 Star Might Not Make Colts 53-Man Roster

Sam Ehlinger’s Football Career

Sam Ehlinger starred at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. He broke school records that were held by future NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and former Colt Nick Foles.

Ehlinger then attended the University of Texas. He threw for 11,436 yards and 94 touchdowns during his four seasons with the Longhorns. He also won MVP of both the Sugar Bowl and Alamo Bowl and was named Second-team All-Big 12 in 2020.

The Colts selected Ehlinger in the sixth round (218th overall pick) of the 2021 NFL Draft. In his first preseason game, he powered Indianapolis to an impressive 23-18 comeback win over the Carolina Panthers. Ehlinger would beat out Jacob Eason for the No. 2 QB spot behind starter Carson Wentz.

Ehlinger backed up Matt Ryan during the awful 2022 season, in which the Colts went 4-12-1. He started three regular-season games that year, losing each contest. Ehlinger was decent in his debut against the Washington Commanders, completing 17 of 23 pass attempts for 201 yards. But he struggled mightily versus the New England Patriots with a 15/29-103-yard performance. Ehlinger did not start any games last season as he played behind Gardner Minshew.

Will He Make the Colts Roster?

Two Colts quarterbacks are guaranteed to make the roster: Anthony Richardson and Joe Flacco. Richardson, the fourth overall pick in 2023, is returning from a season-ending shoulder injury that ruined his rookie year. Flacco will serve as his primary backup this year. The former Super Bowl MVP replaces Minshew, who’s now with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Who will be Indy’s third QB? Sam Ehlinger will battle rookie undrafted free agents Kedon Slovis and Jason Bean for the job. Although they weren’t drafted, they each have a decent shot to beat out Ehlinger.

Slovis, a Pac-12 Freshman of the Year at USC, and Bean, the Guaranteed Rate Bowl MVP out of Kansas, are both very athletic. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Slovis ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash. It was the fastest among all quarterbacks who were clocked. Meanwhile, Bean rushed for 1,342 yards and 14 touchdowns during his time at North Texas and Kansas. He also saw snaps at wide receiver and running back.

Slovis and Bean would flourish in Colts coach Shane Steichen’s offense. Due to their athleticism, they could develop into ideal backups for Richardson, one of the league’s most talented running quarterbacks.

However, Ehlinger has NFL experience. The Austin, Texas native has started three regular-season games and knows Steichen’s system. With that said, he certainly could keep his spot on the Colts’ roster. We’ll see how it all plays out.

Main Photo: Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar-USA TODAY NETWORK


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