It isn’t farfetched to say the Indianapolis Colts have one of the more balanced rosters in the league. For every proven superstar, like Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson, they have almost double the amount of underrated impact players.
While this hasn’t led to much playoff success, let’s not forget GM Chris Ballard has had the responsibility of picking up the pieces from the previous regime. It’s taken some time, but the fifth-year general manager’s plan is finally starting to come full circle.
In order for the Colts to turn the proverbial corner, they’ll need their role players to keep performing to take some of the burden off their star players. It seems like Frank Reich has engrained this into his team, but which role players will Indy most rely on in 2021?
More specifically, who are some of the best-kept secrets on the roster?
Who are the biggest hidden gems on the Colts roster?
3. Khari Willis
Who are the first names that come to mind when you think of Indy’s secondary? Xavier Rhodes has to be the first after he exceeded expectations on a one-year deal in 2020. How about slot corner Kenny Moore, who’s finally gaining recognition as a premier player at his position?
Even ball-hawking safety Julian Blackmon, and fellow CBs Rock Ya-Sin and TJ Carrie would be listed before Khahri Willis, and that’s why he comes in at No. 3 here.
Colts Khari Willis deserves more recognition as an elite safety.
Only Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker registered more tackles for Indy than Willis last campaign. The 2019 fourth-rounder has started 28 games over his first two years, logging 156 tackles (five for loss), seven passes defended, two interceptions and two sacks.
Coming off an up-and-down rookie season, Willis absolutely showed out as a sophomore, allowing just a 59% completion percentage and a 58.8 passer rating to opposing QBs. Those ridiculous numbers saw him earn an elite 73.2 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus.
Willis might not belong in the class of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Justin Simmons, Budda Baker and Tyrann Mathieu, but he absolutely deserves more respect than he’s gotten.
It’s probably asking too much for Willis to be mentioned in the second or third tier of safeties, but Colts fans know what he brings on a weekly basis, and that’s really all that matters.