The rookie has gotten extensive playing time this year and has done a lot with it. He could be a star in the making.
Khari Willis was one of the under the radar picks the Colts made in April’s draft. He was a fourth round pick out of Michigan State. He was drafted because of his great tackling ability and disability to come up and stop the run. He wasn’t known as much of a coverage guy.
Willis has gotten a lot of playing time early this season. His playing time has only increased with Malik Hooker being out after a torn meniscus. Willis has played in all five games this season, but has started the last two games with Hooker’s absence.
So far, Willis has shown the ability to be a solid player. He has 21 solo tackles so far this season, as well as one tackle for loss. He doesn’t have any interceptions and only has one pass knocked down, underscoring the fact that he isn’t a cover safety.
Even though he isn’t the best cover safety, the Colts don’t need him to be. Clayton Geathers is on an expiring contract, so Willis could take over his starting spot in a year. He is used as the enforcer safety who can come up and hit guys. Hooker is the coverage guy.
Willis still needs to be at least serviceable as a coverage safety. That will be the next part of his evolution as a pro. He will need to learn how to diagnose plays better and get into passing lanes. But early returns are good for a rookie who was expected to play a lot early, but maybe not this much.