Colts: Most important overlooked player on Indy’s defense

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 27: Kenny Moore II #23 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 27: Kenny Moore II #23 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts flaunt one of the league’s best defenses, which is incredibly impressive considering that just two of their projected starters, cornerback pairing Xavier Rhodes and TJ Carrie, are over 27 years old.

For context, the Colts finished fifth in total takeaways (25), eighth in yards allowed per game (333.2), second in rushing yards allowed (90.2) and seventh in QB hurries (70) last year.

While standouts like Darius Leonard, DeForest Buckner and Rhodes received most of the recognition for the Colts’ defensive turnaround, the group has a myriad of unsung heroes, and most defenses in the NFL simply can’t say that.

From interior behemoth Grover Stewart, to underrated safety duo Khari Willis and Julian Blackmon, and even linebacker Bobby Okereke, Indianapolis has no shortage of impact players who struggle to garner respect from the national media. Nobody can deny that.

However, if we had to single out one player in terms of who’s the most important overlooked player on the Colts’ defense, it has to be Kenny Moore.

It’s time to give Kenny Moore his respect, Colts fans.

Moore’s rise to the top is a unique one, as he was claimed by the Colts off waivers after the Patriots released him following a tryout as an undrafted free agent in 2017.

Since then, Moore’s established himself as one of the premier slot corners in the league, racking up 256 tackles (!), 14 of which went for a loss, 32 passes defended, 10 interceptions, six sacks and three forced fumbles across 58 appearances (45 starts).

The 25-year-old might never make a Pro Bowl, but that’s simply because there are only so many spots reserved for CBs and voters are more seduced by household names who dominate on the perimeter, like Jalen Ramsey, Jaire Alexander, Stephon Gilmore and Tre’Davious White.

With that being said, however, we’d argue that Moore is more versatile than some of the NFL’s elite outside cornerbacks. Not only can the 5-foot-9, 190-pound warrior chip in against the run at a consistent level (he’s one of the most sound tacklers at the CB position), but he’s capable of defending multiple positions from the slot and will contribute with a sack every now and then.

There’s a reason Pro Football Focus, which has made a habit of disrespecting Colts stars in its offseason rankings, listed Moore as the No. 1 slot CB entering 2021. He finished first on the team in both interceptions (four) and passes defended (13), as well as fourth in tackles (80).

We respect the heck out of guys like Leonard and Buckner — who knows where Indianapolis’ defense would’ve been without them last year? — but it’s about time we elevate Moore into that tier in terms of the Colts’ most important players on that side of the ball.