INDIANAPOLIS – Similar to wide receiver, the attention Chris Ballard has given cornerback differs greatly from free agency to the draft.
In four drafts, Ballard has spent two premium picks on cornerbacks: Quincy Wilson (46th overall in 2017) and Rock Ya-Sin (34th overall in 2019).
In four free agent classes though, the Colts have not given a single cornerback a multi-year deal. In fact, Xavier Rhodes (1-year, $3 million) and T.J. Carrie (1-year, $1 million) last offseason were the first cornerback free agent signings of the Ballard era.
There’s a debate about just how much the cornerback position means to the Colts defense, especially compared to other defensive systems around the league.
It’s widely known the Colts use a zone-heavy scheme, so it’s not the same individual burden corners carry in primarily man coverage systems.
As the Colts enter this offseason, questions are there for just about every cornerback on the roster not named Kenny Moore.
In Moore, the Colts have a high-level slot cornerback who can also play outside, when needed, in base personnel.
After Moore though, it’s anyone’s guess.
Rhodes and Carrie, both who are 30 years old, are free agents for a second straight offseason.
It was Carrie who actually played more than Rock Ya-Sin late last season. Despite that, Ballard is still a believer in Ya-Sin, who is entering his third NFL season.
Ya-Sin was in the same draft class of Marvell Tell. In that 2019 rookie season, Tell had some nice moments. But he opted out of the 2020 season, so where his development is remains an unknown.
Sixth-round pick last year Isaiah Rodgers plays bigger than his size (5-10, 170) and he deserves a shot for more playing time in Year Two.
The other cornerbacks on the roster are Andre Chachere, Anthony Chesley, Tremon Smith, Will Sunderland and Roderic Teamer.
So it’s Moore…and then who?
Yes, the Colts are mostly a zone team. But as their defense evolves, and with the top-flight wideouts on next year’s schedule, attention at cornerback is still necessary.
That’s why this position is high up on the needs list.