All year we’ve seen Rashaan Melvin take strides toward becoming an elite pass defender. That makes him our pick as the Colts’ breakout player for 2017.
2017 was a career year for Melvin. This was his fourth season on an NFL roster, and he made the most of it. While he missed six games due to injuries, he still established himself as the top member of the Colts’ secondary as he logged a career-high 3 interceptions.
In a Week 7 loss to the Jaguars, he suffered a concussion that cost him most of that game and all of Week 8. After returning in Week 9, he was able to play until Week 11. Melvin started that loss to the Titans before suffering a hand injury after making an interception.
His injury was serious enough to keep him off the field for the rest of the season. Near the end of the year, the Colts placed him on injured reserve to free up a roster spot.
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Melvin’s season was marred by injuries, but his lack of a full season is what makes his time on the field all the more impressive. Each week he contributed ample pass deflections and tackles. The statistics show that he would have continued contributing barring his hand injury.
Statistical measures aside, he also became an invaluable leader for the defense. With the loss of Vontae Davis, a void appeared in the secondary. Melvin stepped up and established himself as the best pass defender on the roster. You can coach most players to perform better, but it takes additional player buy-in for this type of development to occur.
It is worth noting that Melvin is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. As we recently discussed, it is important for the Colts to re-sign him. With Andrew Luck set to return in 2018 and a new coach on the way, the Colts need established players like Melvin on the team. His abilities are without question, and his presence as a leader is invaluable.