Colts NFL Combine preview: defensive backs
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – NFL prospects reported to the Combine, or underwear Olympics as it’s sometimes called, this week. Franchises will get the chance to interview players, many of whom teams will be speaking with for the first time. Medical checks are always crucial as well. Last year we saw potential first-round pick Maurice Hurst fall to the fifth round after a medical check brought to light his heart condition. For others, medical checks will be an opportunity to show teams they have recovered from a previous injury and are ready to contribute.
The real fun starts March 1 when workouts officially begin. That Friday we’ll see running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers, positions the Colts solidified through last year’s draft. Saturday we’ll watch quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers. Defensive linemen and linebackers will run drills on Sunday, followed by defensive backs on Monday.
While game tape accounts for the majority of a prospect’s evaluation, the Combine is a chance for players to distinguish themselves from the pack. Getting official measurements and times can help teams separate guys who are closely ranked. Though the Combine is far from an end-all-be-all, it will certainly have an impact on most players’ draft stock.
With three draft picks in the first two rounds, and four in the first 90 selections, the Colts have an opportunity to add several more starters to their young nucleus. General manager Chris Ballard’s first two picks last year (Quinton Nelson & Darius Leonard) were elected First-Team All-Pro as rookies. The next Colts star will likely be in Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.
Colts Draft Picks
First Round – 26th Overall
Second Round – 34th Overall (From Jets)
Second Round – 59th Overall
Third Round – 90th Overall
Fourth Round – 123rd Overall
Fourth Round – 135th Overall (Compensatory)
Fifth Round- 154th Overall
Sixth Round – 187th Overall
Seventh Round – 218th Overall
The Colts’ cornerback group exceeded expectations in 2018. Quincy Wilson, a 2017 second-round pick, played well over the second half of the season, which has inspired optimism toward his ability to take another step forward next year. Slot cornerback Kenny Moore experienced a breakout season. He led Indy with three interceptions, was third on the team in tackles and added 1.5 sacks. Pierre Desir impressed as well and played his first full 16-game season of his career. Desir is an impending free agent who turns 29 in September. The decision or resign him will determine if the Colts are drafting for need or depth at the position come April.
Deandre Baker – Senior – Georgia
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 185 lbs
Baker is an intelligent, feisty corner with great physicality, anticipation and ball-skills. The Combine is an opportunity for him to answer questions about his long speed.
Bryon Murphy – RS Sophomore – Washington
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 182 lbs
Murphy is a quick-twitch athlete with tremendous instincts and awareness. He hits harder than his frame would suggest, but his modest length amplifies the importance of testing well at the combine.
Rock Ya-Sin– Senior – Temple
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 189 lbs
The coolest name in this year’s draft, Ya-Sin is a fluid athlete who shows good speed, toughness and is a reliable tackler. His competitive attitude and skill-set fit what the Colts are building on defense.
Trayvon Mullen – Junior – Clemson
Listed Height: 6’1”– Listed Weight: 195 lbs
Though rarely tested at Clemson, Mullens has the speed to stick with receivers down the field and the quicks to mirror them underneath. His Combine numbers need to match the athleticism shown on tape.
Julian Love– Junior – Notre Dame
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 193 lbs
Love displays fantastic instincts, ball skills, toughness and is tremendous in run-support. The biggest concern about him is speed, which makes it imperative that he runs well at the Combine.
Malik Hooker rebounded well this past year after tearing his knee as a rookie. The 2017 first-round pick is cornerstone of this defense moving forward. Clayton Geathers is a team captain and effective when healthy. However, Geathers has never played a full 16-game season and is set to become a free agent. Mike Mitchell was an excellent mid-season acquisition but is also a free agent and will turn 32 this summer. Matthias Farley spent most of last season on IR but is a quality rotational safety who can start if need be. Farley is a restricted free agent who is expected to return. Depending on how free agency shakes out, safety could be a need for the Colts in 2019.
Johnathan Abram – Senior – Mississippi State
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 205 lbs
Abram is a hard hitting, downhill safety, who would be a great compliment to Hooker’s ball-hawking style of play on the back end. An impressive Combine workout could cement his status as a first-round pick.
Nasir Adderley – Senior – Delaware
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 195 lbs
Adderley is quick to recognize plays and explodes to the ball. He’s a reliable tackler and displays exceptional ball-skills. A former cornerback, Adderley appears capable of playing that position in the Colts’ zone scheme.
Taylor Rapp– Junior – Mississippi State
Listed Height: 6’0”– Listed Weight: 200 lbs
A versatile safety who’s has success playing deep and in the box, Rapp shows good anticipation, tackles well and is a tremendous blitzer (5 sacks in 2018). His biggest knock is a lack of elite athletic traits.