Colts QB depth chart: Sam Ehlinger likely to start for Indianapolis after Carson Wentz hits COVID list
The Colts may have to navigate at least one of their final two games without their starting quarterback.
Carson Wentz was placed on the COVID list on Tuesday, Dec. 28. The 28-year-old quarterback is unvaccinated, so under the NFL’s updated rules, he will need to quarantine for a minimum of five days before returning to the team, meaning the Colts will need to prepare as if they won’t have Wentz for this Sunday’s game, just in case.
Indianapolis is currently 9-6 and are the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff race. They were already facing an uphill battle to win the AFC South and they will potentially have to try to stay in the crowded postseason race without their top quarterback.
The Colts do, luckily, have a strong running game led by MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor and a great offensive line to boot. That strong supporting cast could prove crucial for the Colts, as they are likely to entrust a rookie with the starting job in their Week 17 meeting with the Raiders.
Here’s how the Colts’ current QB depth chart shakes out with Wentz on the COVID list.
Colts QB depth chart
1. Sam Ehlinger
Yes, the Colts’ backup to Carson Wentz is a sixth-round rookie. Ehlinger was a star at Texas where he served as a starter for most of his four years with the program. He threw for 11,436 yards, 94 touchdowns and 27 interceptions and added another 1,903 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but he is mobile and had a knack for avoiding interceptions with the Longhorns.
Ehlinger, 23, has played sparingly as a rookie. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound quarterback has played 18 snaps and has run three times for nine yards. During the preseason, he completed 21 of 31 passes for 288 yards but had three interceptions and no TDs. He also ran for 55 yards in those three preseason contests.
If the Colts start Ehlinger, expect them to utilize his running ability to compliment Taylor. While Wentz is mobile, Ehlinger could add more to the offense in a read-option type of role, so don’t be surprised if Frank Reich and the Colts’ offense take a bit of a different approach with Ehlinger starting.
2. Brett Hundley
Ehlinger is the only quarterback the Colts have on their 53-man roster aside from Wentz, but Hundley has been around the team since signing with them in late July. He has bounced between the active roster and practice squad for most of the season and has gone between serving as a backup and third-string option for the team.
Hundley was a fifth-round pick by the Packers in the 2015 NFL Draft and he made nine starts for the team in 2017. He completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 1,836 yards, nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He ran for 270 yards and two touchdowns as well and led the team to a 3-6 record.
Since then, Hundley (6-3, 226 pounds) has served as a backup for the Seahawks, Cardinals and the Colts. The 28-year-old has thrown just 11 passes since 2018. He has a similar playing style to Ehlinger, as he has good mobility, so he is an ideal backup for the rookie.
3. James Morgan
Morgan has been with the Colts for just over three weeks. The former 2020 fourth-round pick of the Jets signed to Indy’s practice squad to add more quarterback depth to their roster.
Morgan, 24, has bounced around during his brief career. He spent his first season with the Jets before being cut and was on the Steelers, Panthers and Jets practice squads before joining the Colts.
Morgan played collegiate at Bowling Green and Florida International. He completed 57.2 percent of his passes for 8,654 yards, 65 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. He stands at 6-4, 229 pounds and will likely remain on the practice squad unless the Colts decide to dress three quarterbacks.