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NFL Draft

Can Mike Strachan Make Colts’ 53-Man Roster?

  • The Draft Network
  • August 19, 2021
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Despite a camp surrounded by turmoil under center, with many underlying questions remaining throughout the roster, one player has remained consistent, shouldering the hype and inherent optimism towards an Indianapolis Colts wideout unit labeled by many as an average, at best, group of pass-catchers.

Meet Mike Strachan, a chiseled athlete standing at 6-foot-5. His journey to Sunday football came via a footpath less traveled, earning his way to Indianapolis as a seventh-round pick. A former standout at DII Charleston (WV), Strachan has dominated headlines at Colts camp with acrobatic receptions and elite prowess in his ability to high point the football, while showing excellent burst for a wideout of his stature.

“It’s not just a flash play here or there. It’s happening every day, there is a consistency,” head coach Frank Reich said. “There’s been a few mental mistakes here and there, that’s normal for a rookie, but physically there’s been good consistency… We have a good group, but we really like where he’s at right now and expect him to continue to grow and make an impact on our team.”

Strachan’s production in practice has translated to live reps, as the Carolina Panthers quickly found out last weekend in the opening game of the Colts’ preseason slate.

With Michael Pittman Jr. and T.Y. Hilton set to start in an offense littered with talent, including potential breakout candidate Jonathan Taylor, staying consistent in his reps and being productive in the final two preseason matchups should allow Strachan to find himself on Indianapolis’ final 53-man roster in just a few short weeks. While newly acquired quarterback Carson Wentz’s status remains up in the air, an arsenal of weapons touting Strachan, Hilton, Pittman Jr., and slot-man Parris Campbell—who enters a potential make or break campaign following two unproductive seasons—places the “signal-caller to be named” in an opportunistic spot to produce from the opening snaps of Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Preseason standouts at the receiver position have been a yearly occurrence for Colts faithful, as the Deon Cains and Duron Carters of the world also became household tongue in Indianapolis before failing to grasp on to a roster spot.

But Strachan is different… drastically different.

With an elite size and speed combo, Strachan has progressed into as good of a talent as the Colts and general manager Chris Ballard could have ever hoped for when they initially inked him to a contract just a few short months ago.

Strachan’s presence as a small-school standout isn’t unfamiliar to the Colts’ landscape, as former Mount Union product Pierre Garcon became the hope of small school studs around the country when he first broke his way onto the Colts roster for the first time in 2008, before going on to achieve an illustrious NFL career over 11 seasons. Similar to Garcon, who hails from the small island country of Haiti in the Caribbean, Strachan’s roots trace back to the turquoise waters of the Bahamas, where his initial taste of stardom came via the track before transitioning full-time to the gridiron.

“I’ve been playing football and running track my whole life… Coming from The Bahamas, I’ve been playing both sports since I was a young child,” Strachan said in an exclusive interview with The Draft Network. “I started running track and playing football in elementary school and I continued to participate in both sports in college as well...I was the 200-meter and 400-meter MEC Champion [at Charleston].”

As we’ve seen in many of the league’s elite wideouts today, a background in track has become a trait scouts crave when evaluating potential talent on the outside. Tyreek Hill, D.K. Metcalf, recent Miami Dolphins first-rounder Jaylen Waddle, all possess past success on the track that has eased their transition to the outside in the NFL. In 2019, more than 60% of all players taken in the draft had backgrounds in track & field—a massive percentage for an annual event that sees 250-plus prospects each year slotted into the league’s 32 franchises.

Track speed is different, and the same can be said pertaining to the vertically stout Strachan.

A small-school talent from the hills of West Virginia, Strachan has clearly made his transition, but a featured role within an NFL playbook will be no easy task, no matter how special an athlete he’s shown to be thus far. With heavy momentum as he approaches his final two preseason matchups, Strachan has all the makings of being the NFL’s next diamond in the rough.

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