2017 Colts Rookie Class Recap: Cornerback Nate Hairston
Nate Hairston earned a lot of playing time in the Colts’ banged-up secondary this season, and his rookie year was a mixed bag of results.
Nate Hairston was selected in the fifth round of Chris Ballard’s first draft as a general manager after he double-dipped on defensive backs in the first two rounds selecting Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson.
Hairston was an incredibly raw prospect coming into the draft as he played wide receiver in his first two years at Temple before switching over to the defensive side of the ball before his junior year.
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One positive aspect of Hairston’s experience as a wide receiver is that he’s got better ball skills than a lot of cornerbacks coming into the NFL. He broke up five passes this season and picked off his first career pass against the Titans in Week 11.
After being a cornerback for only two seasons in college, the Colts probably expected Hairston to struggle as a rookie because he needed time to develop his technique in order to cover the league’s best wide receivers. And opposing offenses did look to attack Hairston when he was on the field this season.
The rookie cornerback did flash some potential as a blitzer this season as he sacked the quarterback twice this year including one that resulted in a safety.
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Hairston probably played more than the Colts would’ve liked in his rookie year thanks to an incredible amount of injuries in the secondary this season. That experience should help him moving forward if he is able to learn from some of his poor performances as a rookie.
Here are some of our other rookie recaps from Chris Ballard’s first draft class: