Here are three players the Colts should target as insurance in the secondary.
The Indianapolis Colts dodged a bullet when offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo confirmed that he will play the upcoming season. The 31-year-old stud was considering sitting out, but ultimately approved of the safety precautions implemented by the NFL.
While that was great news for the Colts, you had a feeling it was inevitable that the global pandemic would force a few key players to opt out. That hunch unfortunately proved to be realized as two defensive backs, cornerback Marvell Tell and safety Rolan Milligan, informed Indianapolis on Wednesday that they would sit out the 2020 campaign.
It’s quite apparent that the absences of both players will be felt by the Colts. However, the loss of Tell is a huge one for the secondary. After a solid rookie year in 2019, the 24-year-old was expected to challenge veteran Xavier Rhodes, who was a walking embarrassment with the Minnesota Vikings last year, for the starting job opposite emerging star Rock Ya-Sin.
Considering how late we are in the offseason — teams reported to training camp last week — the cornerback market is surprisingly in reasonable shape. With all of this in mind, let’s highlight a few free agents that Indy could target to replace Tell.
3. Javien Elliott
Let’s remember that the Colts (we presume) aren’t looking to sign a three-down cornerback to replace Tell, as he played just 24% of the defensive snaps last year. The means Javien Elliott, who’s started just 10 of 52 career games since entering the NFL in 2016, fits their profile.
The 27-year-old isn’t the most sought after free agent, but he could be a name to add to the mix in terms of playing snaps in the slot as well as the outside. He allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 77.8% of their throws when targeting him last year, but Pro Football Focus did give him a respectable 67.1 grade for his efforts, so his potential is undeniable.
Does Elliott offer blanket coverage? No, but not many cornerbacks do. What matters is that there aren’t many options available, and the Florida State product is one of the best players remaining at his position.