With OTAs officially in the books and training camp just a month away, now seems like a good time to point out that the Indianapolis Colts will have a new-look roster in 2021.
For the sake of argument, let’s keep things focused on defense, which figures to be an area of strength (not that they have any weaknesses) for Indianapolis.
If you look at the front seven, the Colts are locked and loaded for the future with studs like DeForest Buckner, Darius Leonard, and Grover Stewart. If the likes of Bobby Okereke, Tyquan Lewis, Kemoko Turay and Kwity Paye realize their potential, we’re looking at one of the most stacked front sevens in the NFL for the foreseeable future.
As promising as that sounds for Indy, however, we’re not sure the same can be said for the secondary, which was arguably the weakest level of their roster last year. In fact, if you really think about it, the Colts’ future at cornerback and safety is incredibly bleak and must be addressed in some fashion next offseason.
The Colts’must address the future of their secondary.
Let’s start by saying our concerns aren’t related to Indianapolis’ current roster. Their depth at cornerback and safety, which includes Xavier Rhodes, Kenny Moore, Julian Blackmon, TJ Carrie, Khari Willis, Rock-Ya Sin and Marvell Tell, has the potential to be an elite secondary.
However, how many of them have definite futures with the Colts? Rhodes signed another one-year deal and is likely entering his final year with the team. Carrie is also entering the final year of his respective contract. For someone who’s on the wrong side of 30 (he’ll turn 31 next month), you’d be hard-pressed to say he’ll be back next year.
By process of elimination, that leaves Moore, who’s actually the only CB with 10 or more interceptions and at least five sacks since 2017, Ya-Sin and Tell as the Colts’ de facto starters. That’s a recipe for disaster if we’ve ever seen it, especially since Moore plays almost all of his snaps in the slot (he was just named the best slot CB in the league by Pro Football Focus).
On top of that, Ya-Sin is coming off a disaster campaign and saw his playing time reduced significantly down the stretch of the regular season — in fact, Matt Eberflus reiterated his role is part of an “open competition” this preseason. Who’s to say the Colts wont look at alternative options if his struggles in coverage and penalty woes linger into 2021?
When it comes to the safety position, Indy has Blackmon on a rookie deal for the next three seasons. Willis, meanwhile, is one of the most underrated safeties in the league and will likely be due for a contract extension if he exceeds expectations again in 2021.
With the likes of Leonard, Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith, Nyheim Hines, Zach Pascal, Mark Glowinski, Mo Alie-Cox, and George Odum all either entering the final year of their deals or due for an extension between now and next offseason, you can’t guarantee Willis’ future.
The last thing we want to do is stir up panic among Colts fans. However, when you consider the outlook of Indianapolis’ secondary beyond the upcoming season and the laundry list of contracts they have to sort out, it’s not at all too early to start planning for the future.