The face-lift the Indianapolis Colts defense received this off-season only continued through the 2020 NFL Draft. Though 4 of the first 5 picks were offensive players, there was 1 man selected in the first three rounds that belongs to the defensive unit—Utah safety Julian Blackmon.
Blackmon is an athletic, and versatile, defensive back who is recovering from a recent torn ACL. The Colts clearly have a lot of confidence in Blackmon as a player, and to understand why, let’s turn to the tape he rolled out against the Oregon Ducks.
Wanted to share some clips with you guys of Julian Blackmon vs USC but, honestly, Michael Pittman made him look silly that day #Colts— Faraz (@BrownMamba13) April 28, 2020
THREAD—So, #Colts Julian Blackmon is obviously a work in progress, as he transitions from CB to S, but it’s encouraging to see this type of awareness, closing speed and HARD hitting from him—WHEW! #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/iX6LZ89Wm6— Faraz (@BrownMamba13) April 28, 2020
Blackmon is able to find running lanes, fill them and be patient on the tackle. Another nice rep in the run game—which is always something to look out for in a corner to safety transition #Colts pic.twitter.com/dNASxAQjQa— Faraz (@BrownMamba13) April 28, 2020
I know, OL aren’t the most nimble ball carriers, but I like Blackmon’s quick adjustment to the flipping of the field, identification of the open lane and closing speed to finish off the play. He’s clearly got potential pic.twitter.com/QzbvJX11w7— Faraz (@BrownMamba13) April 28, 2020
This is clearly an incomplete pass, but I love that Blackmon always seems to be around the ball and has the IQ to scoop it up, just in case the men in zebra stripes do something whacky (which happens often) #Colts pic.twitter.com/CuebDVsO20— Faraz (@BrownMamba13) April 28, 2020
Obviously, the most important aspect of Blackmon’s progression, right now, is to recover fully from his injury. This shouldn’t be too difficult, as patience is easily accessible for GM Chris Ballard’s squad with Malik Hooker, Khari Willis and George Odum available for contribution.
Beyond that, Blackmon shows a clear aptitude for the type of defense that coordinator Matt Eberflus wants to run—with his ability to read and react at light speed and nail the hammer truculently. All the tools are in the tool-shed for Blackmon, he just needs to grasp how to consistently use them in whatever situation unfolds in front of him.