After two consecutive offensive selections in the 2nd round, the Colts took safety Julian Blackmon to bolster the back end. Blackmon’s game is similar to that of current Colts safety, Malik Hooker in regards to their ball-hawking ability and combination of speed and strength.
Blackmon’s 9 interceptions (including 4 in both 2017 and 2019) show that he has a knack for reading the quarterback post-snap to find the football. His four picks and one returned for a touchdown both led the PAC-12 in 2019.
He also has starting cornerback experience while in college and can line up against both receivers and tight ends. This makes him a versatile defensive back that has the ability to play at both positions in the secondary.
Although he has played both, it isn’t likely for him to be a starting CB in the NFL. Blackmon had trouble in man coverage starting in 2018; this forced his move to safety. Another concern for him moving into the NFL is also similar to Hooker; Blackmon has an injury history dating back to high school, most recently with an ACL injury during the 2019 PAC-12 Championship game. It could be the biggest factor in his transition to a pro-level defensive back.
Colts 2020 Projection:
Khari Willis and Malik Hooker are currently the two starting safeties for the Colts. However, given Hooker’s immense amount of injures since entering the league, it’s very unclear whether or not he’s a long-term answer at the position, regardless of his potential. Blackmon will most likely play as the primary backup at safety in 2020, with the two aforementioned players keeping their starting jobs.
Still, the Colts might not be sold on Hooker and could look to move off of him before the season starts. If that’s the case, Blackmon would start next to Willis in what would be an incredibly young safety group for 2020.
Rookie Projection: 5 GP, 1 GS, 17 tackles, 1 INT