Colts Chuck Pagano on D’Joun Smith: “He’s Done A Lot of Things”
According to Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano today at Day 2 of Rookie Mini-Camp, the team’s early 3rd round pick in D’Joun Smith will play around all over the field as a cornerback for his defense next season. While Smith even played some safety for Florida Atlantic, Pagano expects to use him primarily as a cornerback both on the outside and inside, at least starting out:
"“He’s done a lot of things,” Pagano said. “Yeah, he’s got a ton of position versatility and flexibility, so we’re playing him outside. We’re going to play him on both sides, right and left. Because he’s a guy that we think down the road can be a matchup type guy, and we’re also playing him inside at the nickel position.”“We feel like with his skill-set, he’s going to be somebody that is going to be really good for us outside and also at the nickel spot,” added Pagano."
When asked whether Smith can expect to see the field next season, playing initially behind proven veterans like Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, and Darius Butler in what’s a formidable group of Colts cornerbacks, Pagano didn’t foresee it as an issue:
"“You know with the way the game is going, it’s becoming a pass happy league,” Pagano said. “It’s a matchup league. It’s all about matchups, so the more guys that you have that can cover. You know it doesn’t matter whether it’s three wides (wide receivers) and a tight end, a really athletic tight end. There’s going to be some size issues that come into play, but I don’t think we can have enough, just like pass rushers, I don’t think you can have enough cover guys.”“Those guys, they’re built like Ferrari’s,” added Pagano. “You know I hate to say it, but Ferrari’s are in the shop a lot. It’s hard to find mechanics to fix the damn thing. It’s good to have guys available, and if there’s a nick here or there, you’ve got a guy that you feel great about throwing in there.”"
Along with wide receiver and quarterback, the Colts cornerback position is one of the deepest on the team and even the league. The Colts clearly liked Smith enough to make him an early round selection, despite not having an obvious need at the cornerback position. While his playing time may be a bit limited early on, he’s clearly viewed as an eventual long-term starter on the team’s defense.
With Toler set to become a free agent at season’s end, Smith’s time could come sooner rather than later, especially if he’s as good as initially advertised. He may just have to wait his turn a bit during his rookie season, but his positional versatility to play cornerback both on the outside and inside should improve his odds in seeing the field.
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