INDIANAPOLIS — In 2016, it was Rashaan Melvin.
One season later, it was Pierre Desir.
When the Indianapolis Colts have faced some issues at the cornerback position the last couple of seasons, they've been fortunate to find some hungry — but still relatively young — veterans who have been able to step in and compete without blinking.
And, in the case of Melvin and Desir, they've not only competed — they've produced.
Melvin took his opportunity in 2016 as a spot starter and ran with it going into 2017, as he worked his way into becoming the Colts' No. 1 cornerback, and put in a career year.
In 2017, it was Desir that was claimed off waivers by Indianapolis just before the start of the season and, out of necessity, became a spot starter and fill-in guy at cornerback the first few weeks before grabbing hold of the No. 2 job for good by halfway through the season.
And, prior to suffering a season-ending pectoral injury Week 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Desir, 27, was also putting in a career year; in nine games with six starts, he collected 32 tackles and seven passes defensed, while he also nabbed his first-NFL interception Week 10 against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But now, heading into the offseason, the Colts have some major decisions to make at the cornerback position. Both Melvin and Desir are set to become unrestricted free agents when the NFL's new year starts at 4 p.m. ET March 14, and one would figure both players will get plenty of attention from teams across the league.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard could decide to try to work out a deal with either player — or both, of course — prior to that date, but he also knows some of the younger players at the position who are set to return for sure in 2018 got some very valuable reps in the final few weeks when both Melvin (hand) and Desir were out with injuries.
Those players include 2017 second-round pick Quincy Wilson, undrafted rookie Kenny Moore II and first-year corners D.J. White and Chris Milton.
2018 Colts Free Agent Watch:* *
- Wide receiver Kamar Aiken
- Inside linebacker Jon Bostic
- Safety Darius Butler
- Cornerback Pierre Desir
- Running back Frank Gore
- Cornerback Rashaan Melvin
- Guard Jack Mewhort
- Running back Christine Michael
- Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo
- Wide receiver Donte Moncrief
- Center Mike Person
- Quarterback Scott Tolzien
- Kicker Adam Vinatieri
- Tight end Brandon Williams
35 Desir, Pierre CB 6-2 198lbs 27yrs 4yrs Lindenwood