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Should the Colts Start Two Rookie Cornerbacks?

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Could a complete overhaul on the boundary be in play for the Indianapolis Colts’ secondary? It seems more and more likely.

After trading Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys, Chris Ballard and the Colts drafted not one, but two, cornerbacks with high-level starting experience. Julius Brents and Darius Rush both have elite traits and come from high-profile college defenses. While Brents is expected to start from day one, in the latest episode of With The Next Pick, Ballard hinted that the latter may also be in play as a starting cornerback.

Julius Brents is a day-one starter

When Gilmore was shipped off to Dallas, it became even more apparent the Colts were going to take a cornerback early in the NFL Draft. Many pegged Brents as the likely target and that prophecy came to fruition when he was selected with the 44th overall pick.

Brents stands at 6 ‘2”, 198 pounds with 34” arms. He’s got a 41.5” vertical along with an 11.5’ broad jump. He posted elite agility scores and a solid 4.53 40-yard dash. Brents’s athleticism always screamed like a Ballard pick.

In Thursday’s With The Next Pick youtube release, Ballard nearly jumped out of his chair and sprinted to the board when Brents was still available after two trade backs. The team talked about Brents’s high-quality of play, his strong character, and even said he’d be “ready to roll” when he gets to Indy, implying his starting potential.

Darius Rush Could Join the Club

While the Colts didn’t use a premium draft pick on Rush, they definitely thought about it. Ballard admitted the team “talked about him in the third round, with those first two picks in the fourth round. And then to get him in the fifth, sometimes you have to get a little lucky... we thought it was a really good fit for what we do defensively.”

Rush has a 6’1” frame and pairs it with a 4.36 40-yard dash. Rush had six pass break ups, two interceptions, and allowed a passer rating of 87.7 during his final year at South Carolina. He had a dominant week at the Senior Bowl, locking up some of the top receivers in the draft class.

Isaiah Rodgers likely has the head start on the starting cornerback job opposite Brents, but Rush has more size and similar speed than Rodgers. Rush’s ability on the outside could push him up the depth chart and force Rodgers to make a move inside and rotate with Kenny Moore II in the slot.