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Did Colts Make Right Decision In Not Drafting A Cornerback?

Despite having 11 draft picks in 2018, the Colts elected not to take a cornerback. Was that a smart decision?

Zach Bolinger | Getty Images


INDIANAPOLIS – The run on cornerbacks came late in the second round.

In a span of 11 selections, the Colts saw 5 corners go off the board, in between Chris Ballard taking defensive ends Kemoko Turay (pick No. 52) and Tyquan Lewis (pick No. 64).

A total of 29 cornerbacks (and 18 safeties) went in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Ballard and the Colts did not take a single defensive back.

On paper, the Colts have some intriguing options in their secondary, but it was still a surprise to see them stay away from drafting a corner, especially when you consider the lack of veteran depth on the roster, and today’s NFL of teams always seemingly needing to rely on a handful of corners over the course of a season.

Heading into the 2018 summer, the Colts are likely to start Pierre Desir and Quincy Wilson in their base defense.

Desir, 27, re-signed with the Colts back in March. Desir is healthy after tearing his pec last December, but his first 4 seasons in the NFL have rarely seen him healthy. Desir has played in at least 10 games just once in his NFL career.

With Wilson, the Colts love the 2017 second-round pick’s potential, but the 21-year-old still must prove himself after mysteriously playing just 7 games last season.

Behind Desir and Wilson, the Colts have Nate Hairston heading into his second NFL season. Hairston might have been the Colts’ most productive ’17 draft pick last year. He figures to once again slot into the nickel cornerback position.

Besides signing 4 undrafted rookie cornerbacks after the 2018 draft, the Colts have corners more known for their special teams impact in Kenny Moore (4 starts), Chris Milton (1 start) and D.J. White (0 starts).

In all, the cornerback position is a group largely scarce in experience, with the Colts needing to strike on their young talent. Being so reliant to do that, right now in 2018, is probably one of the biggest reasons for those in the "re-sign Rashaan Melvin" crowd from earlier this offseason.

Did a change in scheme, with the Colts less reliant on finding press corners (hence a reason why Melvin wasn’t re-signed), impact Ballard’s belief in straying away from drafting a cornerback?

“I thought we were going to take a corner, but we didn’t,” Wilson says. “So that means they’re putting full faith in me, Nate and Kenny and Pierre. So we’ve just got to step up and make it happen.”

“I think it shows that they have confidence that we can go out there and get it done,” Hairston says. “But that means nothing. We still have to go out there and do it. Like I said, whether we drafted corners or not, we’re all going to take the same approach and that’s to get better day in and day out and actually prove those guys to be right that believe in us.”

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