INDIANAPOLIS — Cornerback was one of the biggest areas of concern for the Indianapolis Colts entering 2018 in terms of experience, but the group ended the season as easily one of the defense's biggest strengths.
In the second half of the season, the trio of Pierre Desir and Quincy Wilson on the outside with Kenny Moore II in the slot became a solid, reliable group that was more than capable of keeping receivers in check. They held the likes of Amari Cooper, Corey Davis (twice), Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, DeAndre Hopkins (twice) and Demaryius Thomas to modest, if not downright poor performances.
Kenny Moore II
- Started 15-of-15 games (2-of-2 in playoffs), 77 tackles (four for loss), 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, three interceptions, 11 pass breakups and two quarterback hits
Moore II virtually came out of nowhere to be a starter as an undrafted rookie in 2017, and he followed it up with an outstanding encore in 2018. He posted single-season career highs in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, interceptions, pass breakups and Pro Football Focus grade (69.2).
In base defense, Moore II played outside, but in sub-packages he kicked inside, showing an ability to shut receivers down no matter where they travel in the lineup.
You don't usually see this from defensive backs, but Moore II also set a new franchise record for sacks in a single postseason with 3.0 as he became a frequent blitzer in the last several games of the year. Against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card Round, became the first Colts player since 1982 to have a sack and an interception in a single playoff game.
- Started 12-of-16 games (2-of-2 in playoffs), 79 tackles (two for loss), two forced fumbles, one fumble recovered, one interception and eight pass breakups.
It was a long overdue breakout season for Desir as he was able to stay healthy for a full-season slate. His length, closing speed and overall ability to smother opposing receivers was key for the Colts, especially against receivers like Hopkins who had just 73 yards on nine catches in the Colts' and Titans' final two matchups.
As arguably the Colts' top corner, Desir set new single-season career highs in tackles, tackles for loss, forced fumbles, fumbles recovered, pass breakups and PFF grade (77.7).
- Started 5-of-13 games (regular season), 28 tackles, one fumble recovered, one interception and two pass breakups
Wilson started out the season slow, but he turned a major corner (no pun intended) midseason after the Colts signed veteran safety Mike Mitchell. Mitchell became a mentor to Wilson and other young Colts defensive backs, showing them how to effectively study film and become better pros.
Wilson started five games in 2018, just like he did as a rookie, but he appeared in 15 games (including playoffs) as opposed to just seven in 2017. As a result, he put up new single-season career highs in tackles, fumbles recovered and PFF grade (79.7).
Hairston started seven of the first eight games of the season before taking on primarily a special teams role in the second half of the season. He finished the season with 30 tackles and a pass breakup.
Milton is an outstanding gunner on special teams for the Colts, seeing the field on defense very sparingly. As a corner, he played 56 snaps and made two tackles.
Jalen Collins and D.J. Killings
The Colts signed Collins to the practice squad in Week 11. The former Atlanta Falcons second-round pick has loads of potential and started eight games for the Falcons in his first two seasons, including the 2016-17 Super Bowl. The Colts signed Killings to the practice squad in Week 7, and he was briefly elevated to the active roster in Week 11 before being placed on Injured Reserve in Week 12.
Collins and Killings were both signed to reserve/future contracts following the season.