Here's part two of the top 10. If you didn't catch the first 5 players, you can see it here.
5. Vontae Davis
The Colts secondary is young, so at 29 years old, Davis is the old man in the group. Davis is one of the oldest players on defense, so he needs to take on a leadership role as well as being the #1 cornerback.
The Colts will see Antonio Brown, AJ Green, Deandre Hopkins (twice), Demaryius Thomas and Allen Robinson (twice) this year, so having a good number 1 cornerback to slow these top receivers down will be very important.
Davis will also be important on defense because the Colts pass rush is expected to be relatively weak in 2017-18, so having a talented #1 cornerback to help the pass rush will make a big difference for the front seven. Having a good cornerback to give the pass rushers more time to the get to the quarterback will improve the overall performance of the defense. The secondary is weak when he's not at 100%, as seen in the Steelers game last year, so that demonstrates just how valuable he is to the Colts.
4. Ryan Kelly
Surprised? You shouldn't be. Ryan Kelly is the rock along the offensive line. Whenever he plays well, the offensive line has a pretty good game. In that regard, his play is more important to the overall performance of the offensive line than any other player.
Anthony Castonzo has been the same player for the past few seasons; he's consistent for the most part, but you can count on a few dumb errors each game. Nevertheless, there were many instances that when Castonzo played well, the offensive line played horribly. This demonstrates that Castonzo isn't the "it" factor on the offensive line.
Kelly, however, is a different story. As the 2016 season went on, he became more and more comfortable and you would even see him calling out blitzes and different fronts towards the end of the season. He made players around him better. By making players around him better and by dictating the play of the offensive line, it proves that he's one of the most important players on the team.
3. Clayton Geathers
So it was a toss up between Hooker and Geathers, but I went with Geathers because Hooker is a rookie and has never taken a snap in the NFL; we aren't sure whether he's a future hall of famer or a major bust, so I'll wait to see a snap before I put him on any "valuable player" list.
Geathers is the most important player on defense. He's a versatile player who can hit hard in the box and can make plays in coverage. His ability to tackle in the box is something the Colts haven't seen since Antoine Bethea during his prime years with the Colts. They even considered moving him to inside linebacker! His 5 pass deflections in 9 games last season also demonstrates he can cover. The Colts used him a lot in cover 2, which demonstrates that the coaching staff feels very comfortable with having him cover one half of the deep portion of the field. They also used him in press coverage against slot receivers and tight ends, so they also feel comfortable in his able to cover players underneath.
Like Davis, the Colts are a much better defense with him on the field.
2. T.Y. Hilton
The best player outside of Andrew Luck is the easy pick for #2. Contrary to what the national media believes, Hilton is not just a deep threat, but rather a nifty player who can do a lot of damage in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field. He's a player who reads the defense very well and knows when to sit and when to use his speed to beat tight man coverage.
While he's an underrated player underneath, Hilton makes his money beating defenders on deep passes (20+ yards downfield). In 2016, Luck had at least a 92 passer rating when targeting Hilton on deep passes (20+ yards downfield) anywhere on the field. Hilton also recorded the most catches of more than 20 yards downfield (17) in the NFL last season. On top of all of that, Hilton led the NFL in receiving yards last season. He's extremely important for Andrew Luck and is the primary receiver on most passing plays, so it's apparent that the coaching staff has a lot of confidence in him.
1. Andrew Luck
Who else? The franchise quarterback is one of the best players in the NFL and gives the Colts at least 4-5 extra wins a year. If you want to talk about importance, Luck is as important to the Colts as any player in the NFL is to his respective team.
Luck plays his best with the game on the line and has constantly put the team on his back and carried them to some big playoff games.
If you're reading this article, you know enough about Andrew Luck to know that he's pretty good. Bruce Arians called him a special player and that's the perfect word to describe one of the young superstars of the NFL.
Do you, for the most part, agree or disagree with the list?
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