The Colts secondary could be getting a boost soon from rookie Julian Blackmon.
The Indianapolis Colts selected Utah safety Julian Blackmon in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft even though the former Ute underwent knee surgery in December. General manager Chris Ballard likely felt his playmaking ability justified the fact he might not be ready for the start of the regular season.
But Ballard provided an update on Blackmon over the weekend, which is great news for a secondary with a ton of question marks. Blackmon anchored the secondary on one of the best defenses in the country the last couple seasons, and the fact he profiles to be a versatile defensive back should make Indy’s secondary more dynamic.
The Colts want to give him more time to recover, but he could be back in the coming weeks … right in time for Week 1!
"“Blackmon is getting close — the free safety we took from Utah. And we’re not exactly sure, but we’re hoping within the next two or three weeks we can get him back off the PUP and ready to go,” Ballard told Sirius XM NFL Radio. “He looks great. We’re being probably a little more cautious, ’cause I wanna make sure, because he’s a very talented centerfielder that we think can really help us when he gets going.”"
There’s something to be said about Blackmon’s accomplishments in his three years as a starter. Utah is pretty much the only team in the Pac-12 that values defense, meaning he was tasked with going up against offense-first passing attacks each and every week. Washington State had the top passing offense in the FBS and USC was the sixth. Oregon was also pretty good, and Washington is rarely an easy opponent.
Blackmon logged a career year in 2019. He registered 41 tackles (four for loss), 1.5 sacks, four interceptions (led the Pac-12), four passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and a touchdown. That was his first season as a free safety after playing the previous two as a starting cornerback.
That’s the kind of experience you want from an impact third-round pick, and when Blackmon’s back, don’t be surprised if he’s running all over the field for the Colts.