INDIANAPOLIS – For a third straight draft, the Colts have drafted a safety.
With the 165th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Colts took Florida safety Shawn Davis in Round Five.
Here are 3 takeaways on Davis:
1. Versatile Safety
In the 5-10, 202-pound Davis, the Colts are getting a safety who has shown some versatility in the SEC. Florida loves to play a heavy defensive back personnel grouping with Davis playing as a free safety. But Davis has proven to be a willing and aggressive tackler in the box, while also finding the ball at a nice rate for a safety (5 interceptions and 15 passes defensed). Florida’s defensive staff called Davis ‘the quarterback’ of the secondary. The Colts really didn’t have a specific skillset they needed to go after at safety in the draft, and Davis doesn’t appear to be pigeonholed into that. Along with ball production from their defensive backs, the Colts had to love Davis turning some of those interceptions into big returns. Davis, a Senior Bowl participant, has a long wingspan for being under 6-0 and was a strong athletic tester during the draft process. It should be noted that Davis missed 9 games due to injury over the last 3 seasons.
2. Matt Eberflus’ Evolvement
At the minimum, Davis should be a special teamer as a rookie (he played on all 4 phases at Florida). Davis’ involvement defensively will depend a lot on how Matt Eberflus wants to evolve his personnel groupings. In 2020, the Colts didn’t use a dime package (6 defensive backs). Part of that is because they want to have a 4-man defensive front, plus 2 linebackers (Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke) on the field for the vast majority of snaps. But in today’s pass happy NFL, have the Colts decided that sprinkling in a dime look is needed, particularly against the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen? If so, that’s where a guy like Davis could compete for a 6th DB spot.
3. Day Three Safety Pick Makes Sense
Even though the Colts return virtually all their playing time at safety, they are dipping into this position for a third straight draft. A starting job at safety isn’t there in 2021, not with Khari Willis and Julian Blackmon on the roster. But one question that is there defensively revolves around the use of that dime personnel grouping. Does more depth at corner and safety this year make Eberflus more willing to try a package. It’s something to keep in mind. The Colts have depth at safety in Shawn Davis, Sean Davis (free agent signing) and George Odum, with Malik Hooker no longer on the roster and veteran Tavon Wilson now in San Francisco.