Using Pro Football Focus's Cumulative Cornerback Summary as a guide, Tim Jennings (-4.3 overall ranking) was just as good a corner last year as Jerraud Powers (-4.0) and Jacob Lacey (-5.4). Not only was Jennings comparable to Powers and Lacey, he was actually better than Kelvin Hayden (-10.7).
Now, while I very likely just discredited the entire body of work Pro Football Focus does in the eyes of Colts fans and Stampede Blue readers, the point here is that despite Jennings being everyone's whipping boy, he actually was a pretty good back-up corner. Again, that's based on my simple observations, and the numbers from Pro Football Focus.
With Jennings having signed with the Bears this off-season, and with Marlin Jackson and T.J. Rushing also allowed to sign with other teams, the Colts really don't have much depth behind second year man Jacob Lacey. And, no offense to Lacey, but what if last year's rather surprising level of production was a fluke? Factor in that both Hayden and Powers struggled to stay healthy last year, and the concern with quality depth in the secondary is a big!
As I stated here yesterday, drafted rookies and collegiate free agents are the only people currently on the roster filling the shoes once worn by established, seasoned veterans. And knowing how often Colts corners get injured, it's fairly safe to say the the 4th and 5th corners on this team will play significant snaps in 2010, and may even need to start games. Last year, 4th corner Tim Jennings played 515 snaps. Lacey, the 5th corner, played 847!
No offense to these kids, but if players like Ray Fisher and Brandon King are playing over 1,000 combined snaps for the Colts next year, the defense could be in trouble.
I'm bringing this topic back up again not to suggest that a lack of proven depth at 4th and 5th corner means this team sucks or anything (though, I appreciate it when people go to that extreme), but because if the Colts do not solidify the depth in the secondary, they likely will not win the Super Bowl for the 2010 season. And that is what all this analysis, drafting, and off-season chit-chat is all about. We want to see a team that will go back to the mother of all games and, this time, kick the crap out of a team like the Saints. It was an insurmountable task last year, and the team had better corner depth.
Now, with inferior depth, it just got harder.
If you don't think this is important, then by all means ignore my worrying ways and treat yourself to a frozen margarita while you wait for early September. For me, this secondary depth issue has me biting my nails.