General manager Chris Ballard shocked most Indianapolis Colts fans when he traded former All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys for a fifth-round compensatory pick.
With Gilmore gone, Indianapolis’s depth at cornerback is extremely shaky, with more potential moves coming soon. Behind quarterback, the team’s biggest need is clearly at cornerback. So how does Indy go about improving both the starters and depth at the position?
With Indy looking more and more likely to stick at four and pick from the remaining quarterbacks, they would have the ability to keep the 35th overall pick and take the top-rated cornerback. From the current mock drafts, their most likely option would be South Carolina’s Cam Smith.
Smith is a man-heavy, athletic corner with smooth hips and is sticky in coverage. He can press you and make life difficult at the line of scrimmage, but can occasionally be a little more handsy than you’d like, but that’s nothing Gus Bradley and company couldn’t fix. Smith will likely be available at 35 and would be an excellent option opposite Isaiah Rogers Sr.
Another option would be the classic Ballard second-round trade back. The Colts could use more picks, and trading back would give them more ammo in 2023 or 2024. If Ballard were to trade to the mid-to-late second round, Julius Brents would make all the sense in the world.
Brents fits the Ballard mold: explosive, long, and physical. While he doesn’t have the top-end speed, his size, length, and physicality make up for it. Brents has all the tools to develop into a solid starter in the NFL and could be a building block of the Colts' secondary for years to come.
Julius Brents 2022 season highlights— The Kansas State Fan (@Thekstatefan) January 5, 2023
45 tackles 3.5 TFL 4 INT 4 PD 1 FF pic.twitter.com/LdGp4p9rIx
Another South Carolina Gamecock, Rush oftentimes lived in Smith’s shadow. However, his game deserved its recognition. Rush dominated at the Senior Bowl, shutting down every receiver in his way. The 6’ 2” 199 pound corner hits all the measurables the Colts look for and his 4.36 speed and elite athleticism will certainly have them drooling.
Rush’s big week in Mobile may have boosted him into the late second, but his lack of production at South Carolina could drop him into the third round.
Prior to @seniorbowl, NFL scouts liked South Carolina’s Darius Rush but most questioned his speed.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 13, 2023
Rush proved doubters wrong w/ fastest max speed in Mobile (21.65 mph) & 4.36 official at Combine.
Checkout mirrored footwork here. Definition of “running the route” for the WR. pic.twitter.com/5yZaFZm3Uf
Another late-second, early-third type of player, Williams was the star of the Syracuse defense over the past couple of seasons but tore his ACL in late October. Prior to his injury, Williams was occasionally mocked in the first-round and his play certainly warranted it.
Williams was targeted only 21 times in 170 coverage snaps. He allowed 14 receptions, only one touchdown, and snagged two interceptions. His injury may push him further than the third round, and he would certainly be worth a mid-round flier.
How bout this INT by GARRETT WILLIAMS ‼️@CuseFootball | #ACCFootball pic.twitter.com/cz5FwOgMUb— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) September 4, 2022