Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
The Colts only have one CB that played significant minutes on the roster for 2013, and it's time for an upgrade at Strong Safety. Who's going to join Antoine Bethea and Vontae Davis?
As we talk about here at Stampede Blue all the time, the most successful teams in the NFL are the ones that can pass the ball, and can defend the pass. What better way to help the defensive part than by getting more talent in the Secondary? While the Front 7 obviously has their jobs in the passing game, CBs and Safeties have to be able to cover guys for the Defense to be effective. Thankfully for the Colts they have half of their Secondary in tact from last year, as Antoine Bethea and Vontae Davis will both be back, hoping to ride the momentum of the end of the season, where they both played really well. The Colts need more help though.
I know nominally there are only two starting CBs, but in reality the Colts need three, if not four guys ready to play at any time, as they'll need to go into their Dime coverage consistently while up big in the 4th quarter, right? Depth is a huge thing at CB, something the Colts haven't had in quite a while (probably 2006, where Kelvin Hayden was the #4 guy). Wouldn't be nice to get back to that level?
Like I said above, Vontae Davis is definitely back next season, but the next three guys on the depth chart all are Free Agents, including Jerraud Powers. I really like him as a player, when he stays healthy, and won't be opposed to the Colts bringing him back on a short deal. I just have a tough time believing he'll make it through an entire season injury-free. Darius Butler and Cassius Vaughn are also FAs, and have no idea whether they'll be brought back. Even if both are, it doesn't mean the Colts can't take another CB, even early, to get more talent on the field.
The draft class is pretty heavy in the middle of the draft, with lots of guys in the 2nd to 5th round range. I'm not one to guarantee things, but barring the signing of the three guys above, plus another big-name guy, I'd almost guarantee the Colts take a CB in the middle rounds.
Players to watch at the Combine:
|Banks, Johnthan||Mississippi St||DB05||1|
|Rhodes, Xavier||Florida St||DB36||1-2|
|Amerson, David||North Carolina St||DB03||2-3|
|Davis, Will||Utah St||DB10||2-3|
|Mcfadden, Leon||San Diego St||DB27||2-3|
|Poyer, Jordan||Oregon St||DB32||2-4|
|Simon, Tharold||Louisiana St||DB39||2-4|
|Taylor, Jamar||Boise St||DB47||2-4|
|Alford, Robert||Southeastern Louisiana||DB02||3-4|
|Slay, Darius||Mississippi St||DB41||3-4|
|Sweeting, Rod||Georgia Tech||DB46||3-4|
|Webb, B W||William & Mary||DB52||3-4|
|Robey, Nickell||Southern California||DB37||4-5|
|Adams, Johnny||Michigan St||DB01||4-6|
|Mathieu, Tyrann||Louisiana St||DB23||4-6|
|Johnson, Jay Jay||Purdue||DB20||6-7|
|Reid, Greg||Florida St||DB35||6-7|
The Colts have two guys that I'd be ok with as being the backup Strong Safety, but if last year taught us anything, it's that Tom Zbikowski is good in short spurts, but as much as it pains me to say, he's not an NFL starter. In fact, Joe Lefeged outplayed him while Zbikowski was hurt for a couple games. They are both under contract for next season, and I don't think an additional SS will necessarily cause one of these guys to lose their job.
There's a good chance that the two top guys will be available at pick #24 in Matt Elam and Kenny Vaccaro, although I saw some today that have Vaccaro going in the top 10. With the job of covering Tight Ends becoming so important for the Strong Safety, I'm all for taking one of those guys in Round 1, as neither would be a reach there. There's also some depth at the end of the draft as well, if they want to try for the steal in the later rounds.
Players to watch at the Combine:
|Wilcox, J J||Georgia Southern||DB54||2-3|
|Thomas, Phillip||Fresno St||DB48||2-4|
|Cyprien, Johnathan||Florida Int||DB09||3-4|
|Motta, Zeke||Notre Dame||DB31||5-7|
|Wolff, Earl||North Carolina St||DB58||5-7|
|Johnson, Keelan||Arizona St||DB21||6-7|
|Slaughter, Jamoris||Notre Dame||DB40||6-7|
|Starling, Jawanza||Southern California||DB43||6-7|