After a position change and a promising offseason, Julian Blackmon is poised for an impact year with the Indianapolis Colts in 2023.
Last season, when Julian Blackmon went down with an injury, the Indianapolis Colts found out that they had one of the steals of the 2022 NFL draft. Seventh-round safety Rodney Thomas II filled in for Blackmon and played exceptionally well. He was one of the biggest suprises for Indy last season, and the Colts couldn’t just send him back to the bench once Blackmon got healthy.
Indianapolis ended up regularly playing three safeties, Blackmon, Thomas, and Rodney McLeod. However, as the team started the offseason program this year, McLeod had left in free agency and Thomas and Blackmon both returned as free safeties. Instead of making the team’s top two safeties compete for one spot, the Colts moved Blackmon to strong safety.
While it’s still pretty early, Blackmon was excelling at his new position in OTAs and minicamp, and he could be setting up for a big year at strong safety in 2023.
Julian Blackmon is preparing to be a playmaking safety for Colts
ESPN’s Stephen Holder recently highlighted that Blackmon was an offseason standout in Indianapolis. Holder explained that “Blackmon was around the ball in OTAs,” and since he’s now at strong safety, “his instincts and tackling ability might be seen on a more regular basis.”
If that’s the case, Blackmon should be in position to make a lot of plays and help the Colts defense be a dominant unit in 2023. In three years in the league, Blackmon has played in 35 games, recording 126 tackles, seven for a loss, one sack, nine pass deflections, and three interceptions.
While Blackmon increasing his production will be great for the Colts, it will also be great for him as he’s entering a contract year. With talented second-year safety Nick Cross lurking, Blackmon must prove his value to Indianapolis or potential suitors throughout the league. The Colts, and Blackmon himself, need a healthy and productive year out of the fourth-year safety.