T.J. Green is arguably the most physically gifted player on the Colts defense. His freakish athletic ability, mixing speed with size, is the main reason he was selected in the second round by the Colts in the 2016 NFL draft.
His rookie year struggles were well documented, he had difficulty covering tight ends, running backs, and was not good tracking the ball when it was in the air. That being said, it sounds like the Colts are giving Green a serious look at cornerback according to reports from practice.
Interesting at Colts practice. S TJ Green taking snaps at LCB with 1st unit. Worth a post-practice question— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) August 15, 2017
Green’s poor coverage abilities in space were obvious in 2016. Playing centerfielder was not working, and even when in the box he struggled in coverage. With Malik Hooker naturally fitting into that role, it allows the Colts to experiment with Green. Standing at 6-foot-3, with a 4.34 second forty time that he posted in the NFL combine, he can match up with any receiver on paper.
But as was mentioned earlier, pass coverage has been his biggest challenge. How can a player who has difficulties covering tight ends and running backs convert to a position that demands you cover receivers, who are faster and run better routes?
One idea, assisted by fellow Stampede Blue writers Stephen Reed and Faraz Majid is that limiting Green’s responsibilities and taking him out of space could benefit him. The Colts scheme typically places their corners in a press-boundary role, where he could bring the physicality of a safety to jam receivers, and still have the quickness to keep up. If the experiment succeeds, he could become an asset to the team. In fact, using him in such a way might hide his biggest weaknesses.
In a post practice interview today, TJ Green commented on the potential position switch stating that coach Chuck Pagano asked “do you want to play corner?” in which Green responded “I’m all for it.”
On paper Green sounds like he’d be a good fit in this new role, however, it will be very difficult to make a successful position change. The Colts have not committed to anything officially but it’s tough to argue against him having the physical tools to make the switch.
Green had a disappointing rookie season, but he is still young with tons of potential and the Colts are leaving no stone unturned with this young talent, and continue to show patience while he develops as a player.