Rookie Breakdown: Week 2 vs. Arizona Cardinals


The Colts lost a heartbreaker against the Cardinals on Sunday, and there was a mixed bag of good and bad performances from the team’s crop of rookies.

S Malik Hooker

Malik Hooker earned his first start in the absence of the Colts’ regular starting safety Darius Butler.

Hooker only had two tackles, but that’s not why the Colts drafted him 15th overall. He showed his athleticism and range many times throughout the game.

The most potent example came late in the first half when he intercepted Carson Palmer and preserved the Colts’ lead going into the break. On the play, Hooker was playing as a single high safety, and he came over and jumped the route to make the pick.

Colts fans should be excited about Hooker’s future as he played very well in his first start.

CB Quincy Wilson

Second round pick Quincy Wilson also had a promising first start at cornerback.

He was in good position all game long, earning two passes defended. Many fans will look at J.J. Nelson‘s long touchdown as a bad play by Wilson, but you can not ask more of a guy than what he did. Wilson was in perfect position, but he did not get any help from safety Mathias Farley, and Palmer made a great throw to score the touchdown.

Overall, Quincy Wilson had a strong performance.

DE Tarell Basham

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Defensive end Tarell Basham did not earn many snaps in this game.

He has failed to get much pressure on on the quarterback through two games. Basham is one of many talented defensive players from this 2017 draft class, and has the potential to be a starter in this league.

He will need to work with the coaches more and develop some pass rush technique before he will live up to his potential.

RB Marlon Mack

We’ve all seen how well Marlon Mack is capable of playing, but he looked terrible on Sunday.

In his defense he didn’t get good blocking, but his vision was questionable as he couldn’t pick up yardage to save his life as he finished the day with 6 carries for -3 yards.

Coming out of USF, it was expected that Mack would have days where he looks great, and others where he struggles and fails to do much of anything being a rookie coming from an offense that is very different from what we see in the NFL.

Expect some growing pains like Mack had on Sunday, but the guy has all the talent in the world and should be a serviceable running back if he can put it all together.

CB Nate Hairston

Nate Hairston had another good day as the starting nickel cornerback.

He finished fifth on the team with 4 tackles on the day, and added a sack on a corner blitz. Colts fans should be excited about this guy as he is still new to the corner position after playing wide receiver for his first couple years at Temple. You can’t expect more from a fifth round pick than we are getting from Hairston, and look for him to continue to improve as he gets more experience.

Overall, it was a good day for the Colts’ rookies.

There’s a good chance the Colts have found three long term starters in their secondary from one draft class. Vontae Davis and Clayton Geathers are the two best players on the Colts defense, and will make up a strong back end when they’re healthy along with Hooker, Wilson, and Hairston.

It was a tough loss for the Colts on Sunday, but Chris Ballard looks to be turning things around. When Andrew Luck, Ryan Kelly, Vontae Davis and Clayton Geathers eventually come back, this team should look better than they have in the last two years.

Until then, keep an eye on these rookies as they try to pick up at least one win without Andrew Luck.