Should Colts fans be worried about team’s cornerback depth?

Colts CBs Rock Ya-Sin and Xavier Rhodes (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Colts CBs Rock Ya-Sin and Xavier Rhodes (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Though the Indianapolis Colts lost some key members of their defense to free agency, they still figure to have one of the best front sevens in the league.

After all, the group is highlighted by Darius Leonard and interior stars DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart, whose sheer presence will go a long way towards opening up opportunities for the Colts’ ample young pass rushers to wreak havoc.

As reassuring as that sounds, however, we’re not sure the same confidence can be applied to the secondary, which was easily the weakest level of Indy’s defense last season.

While there’s something to be said that the Colts will be returning all of their secondary starters from 2020, shouldn’t it worry fans that zero major upgrades were made?

How should fans feel about the Colts’ cornerback depth?

The Colts made a pair of smart, cost-effective moves in re-signing free agents Xavier Rhodes and TJ Carrie, both of whom were really invaluable to the defense last season, seemingly locking up their cornerback depth chart for next season in the process.

Rhodes appears to be a perfect fit in Indianapolis’ zone-oriented scheme and he’ll be expected to line up against opposing No. 1 wideouts. Carrie, meanwhile, logged an elite 70.0 coverage grade last year and is outstanding against the run, which is a rarity for a cornerback.

The Colts will also be returning Kenny Moore, who’s established himself as the best slot cornerback in the league. The four-year pro was immense for Indy in 2020, tallying 80 tackles (!), four interruptions, 13 passes defended and two sacks.

Behind that trio, however, it starts getting a little dicey. As fans will recall, Rock Ya-Sin was borderline unplayable for most of last season. Not only did the 2019 second-round pick commit countless costly penalties, but he was equally abominable in coverage.

Ya-Sin logged a 49.8 coverage grade and his role reduced down the stretch — he played just 48.2% of the defensive snaps over the final five games, including the playoffs — suggests the Colts started to realize his deficiencies.

While fans in Indy would like to see Ya-Sin benched on a permanent basis if his struggles linger into next season, they might not have that luxury considering that both Moore and Carrie are more effective lined up in the slot than on the perimeter.

So what’s the final verdict? While fans shouldn’t be overly concerned with Indy’s depth at cornerback, one injury could be catastrophic. After all, that would mean Ya-Sin, Marvell Tell, who opted out last year, and 2020 sixth-round pick Isaiah Rodgers will be in for bigger roles.

That’s a terrifying thought given how little we know about Tell and Rodgers as well as the overall regression we saw from Ya-Sin last season.