Khari Willis was one of many players on the defensive side of the ball that the Colts drafted in April. Willis was a fourth round pick out of Michigan State as a strong safety. He will be sliding into the free safety spot for the next few weeks though because of Hooker’s injury.
Willis has already made an impact on this squad. He has 12 tackles, good enough for 5th on the team. And that’s coming off the bench because Willis doesn’t normally start. But his play alongside Clayton Geathers will be key in this game on Sunday.
The Raiders will know that Hooker is out. They will try to exploit the rookie every chance that they get. Willis is decent in coverage, but is more of a hitter than he is a coverage safety. So is Geathers. That leaves the deep part of the field vulnerable.
Willis will have to be disciplined on play-action plays. He can’t go running in and trying to make tackles on running backs in the backfield. He has to stick with his assignments and stay deep when the play calls for it. Getting deep is a recipe for disaster in any game.
Expect Willis to have his fair share of lumps over the next few weeks. But he should be fine in this one. Oakland only has four touchdown passes all year, so he should be able to learn his way around the defense enough to be in the right place.
If these three guys are able to play up to their talent level, the Colts should add a second straight home win to their resume.