Colts Select Michigan State Safety Khari Willis In Round Four Of 2019 NFL Draft
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts made their first trade up of the 2019 Draft on Saturday.
Chris Ballard traded up 20 spots to take Michigan State safety Khari Willis with the 109th overall pick.
Here are 3 thoughts on the Colts drafting Willis:
1. Box Safety
Any scouting report on Willis will have people gushing about his ability to play close to the line of scrimmage, whereas he lacks deep coverage ability.
That fits what the Colts were looking for at the safety position this spring.
The Colts were obviously very attracted to Willis, as they moved up 20 picks to take him early in the 4th round, giving up picks No. 129 and 135 (the compensatory pick via Donte Moncrief).
Willis (6-0 and 215 pounds) had 189 tackles, 7.0 for loss and 3.0 sacks in his career, with 13 passes defensed.
On Saturday, Willis called himself a ‘sure tackler’ who enjoys playing around the line of scrimmage.
2. Clear Need
Playing in a more run-heavy division in the AFC South, the Colts will welcome a box safety to the mix.
Coming into the draft, finding such a safety with that style was always thought to be an item on the Indy priority list.
Clayton Geathers has the injury history that cannot be ignored and only re-signed with the Colts on a one-year deal.
If Willis proves himself in 2019, he could very well be a full-time starter next to Malik Hooker by next spring.
3. More High Character On Defense
The common theme of high character players continues to roll in for the Colts. Willis was a team captain at Michigan State and gave the keynote speech at Big Ten Media Day last fall.
In also diversifying the look of their defense with the Ballard drafts, the Colts could also use an infusion of young leaders to emerge.
There’s a passing of the torch on that side of the ball in Indianapolis with the need for vocal leaders, something Willis was at Michigan State.
Speaking of a Colts connection, Willis is a cousin of Colts great Bill Brooks, who is in the team’s Ring of Honor.
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