How Did The Colts Rookies Perform In 2019?
How Did The Colts Rookies Perform In 2019?
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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a rookie class, particularly on defense, that will continue to help shape the future of the Indianapolis Colts.
The 2019 season showed the Colts definitely have a couple of starters from their 2019 rookies, with some needed development necessary for several of the other first-year players.
How did the Colts rookies perform in 2019?
- CB-Rock Ya-Sin (15 games, 13 starts): It was an up and down baptism by fire for the rookie from Temple. The Colts continue to gush about the competitiveness/work ethic of Ya-Sin after seeing his immediate introduction into being a starting NFL corner. For the most part, the Colts liked how Ya-Sin played in the second half of the 2019 season.
- DE-Ben Banogu (16 games): All that 2019 spring linebacker talk never turned into anything of substance for Banogu. He played exclusively as a rotational defensive end, finishing the year with 2.5 sacks and 3 tackles for loss. The Colts saw an occasional flash from Banogu but know they need more out of the second-round rusher.
- WR-Parris Campbell (7 games, 3 starts): Four different injuries and three surgeries since late July kept Campbell to just 7 games as a rookie. When Campbell was healthy, he finished with only 18 catches for 127 yards---and a small yards per reception number of 7.1. Campbell, as he should be, remains an important and explosive piece to the Colts offense, with the team wanting to quiet the injury bug that rose up in 2019.
- LB-Bobby Okereke (16 games, 8 starts): Even though the Colts think Okereke’s best position moving forward is at MIKE, he was too good to keep off the field in 2019. Okereke eventually became a starter at the SAM linebacker spot, alongside Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker. Chris Ballard believes Okereke has ‘some real special in his body’ as the Colts like what they have in their linebacker group.
- S-Khari Willis (14 games, 9 starts): It didn’t take long before Willis showed he belonged on an NFL field, and as a starter in the Colts defense. As Chris Ballard said after the season on Willis, “He’s everything you want.” The Colts know they have a future full-time starter at safety in Willis, who was probably the most impressive rookie in the team’s 2019 draft class.
- CB-Marvell Tell (13 games, 1 start): A former college safety at USC, Tell showed some nice promise at corner. He played more than 20 defensive snaps in 6 games this season, finishing with 5 passes defensed. Chris Ballard was encouraged by what Tell showed as a rookie, with the Colts now looking for more consistency from the long corner.
- LB-E.J. Speed (12 games): Take out 28 snaps in Week Four, and Speed logged just 5 total defensive snaps the rest of the season. He didn’t play on defense in the final two months of the year, with the Colts healthy at linebacker and settling on a trio of Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker and Bobby Okereke. Matt Eberflus liked the work ethic the ‘big, raw athlete’ was showing late in the season.
- WR-Ashton Dulin (13 games): Dulin became one of the team’s most important special teamers. Chris Ballard liked the return ability he saw from Dulin in the 2019 season finale (3 kick returns for 90 yards). The undrafted free agent caught 2 balls in 95 offensive snaps.
- K-Chase McLaughlin (4 games): The undrafted free agent out of Illinois finally arrived to Indianapolis in early December and provided some vital stability to the Colts kicking game. In 4 games with the Colts, McLaughlin was 5-of-6 on field goals and 11-of-11 on extra points. Two of his made field goals came from 50 yards and were outdoors (his one miss was a 47-yarder off the upright). The Colts have signed McLaughlin through the 2020 season as he could be their kicker of the future.
Other 2019 Draft Pick Notes:
-6th round DE-Gerri Green was signed to a futures contract after spending the 2019 season on the practice squad.
-7th round OG-Javon Patterson tore his ACL in the spring and missed the entire 2019 season.
-7th round OT-Jackson Barton was signed to the Chiefs active roster (off the Colts practice squad) in November and has remained there into the playoffs.