INDIANAPOLIS — With the month of July — and the start of training camp — upon us, it’s time for the Indianapolis Colts’ Burning Questions series.
We continue today with the cornerback position:
» How quickly can Rock Ya-Sin adjust to playing primarily in zone?
While the Colts certainly had Temple corneback Rock Ya-Sin within their sights prior to this year’s Senior Bowl, it was that week in January in Mobile, Ala., in which he shot up their board. Not only did Ya-Sin blow the team away with his character and football acumen, but the practices and the game that week allowed the team to see him compete in a more diverse defensive setting. While Ya-Sin excelled in man-to-man coverage in his one year at Temple, the Colts wanted to see how he’d perform in more of a zone setting, which is the primary scheme they employ under defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (with man-to-man sprinkled in). How’d he do? Well three months later, the Colts took Ya-Sin with the 34th-overall pick, and after the rookie put in a strong offseason workout program, the challenge is to keep improving each day heading into training camp and the preseason so he can be ready for what should be an extremely challenging Colts schedule in 2019.
» Can Quincy Wilson get off to a fast start?
Quincy Wilson’s first two seasons in the NFL have had similar themes: slow starts followed by an epiphany of sorts and productive finishes. The challenge for Wilson heading into a crucial third season in Indy is to see him put it all together from the start. And if the end of the 2018 season is any indication, there’s no reason to believe he can’t do it. With the help of veteran safety Mike Mitchell, a midseason acquisition last year, Wilson learned first-hand what it takes to make it in the NFL, both on the field and in the classroom. Now Wilson will try to apply those same principles heading into 2019, when he could take on a similar role as late last year, when he played all over the field for Eberflus’ defense — even taking on some dime linebacker responsibilities. Still just 22 years old — he’ll be 23 by Week 1 of the regular season — Wilson and the Colts hope he can put it all together for a breakout campaign in 2019.
» Who earns the final spots at cornerback?
One of the more fierce competitions for roster spots during training camp and the preseason will be at cornerback. Depending on how many corners head coach Frank Reich keeps on his Week 1 roster, there could be as many as five or six players vying for two or three spots. After spending a year out of football, and then waiting his turn on the Colts’ practice squad, can Jalen Collins realize his potential as a former second-round pick? Can Nate Hairston take the momentum of a strong offseason workout program into camp? Can Chris Milton’s reputation as one of the NFL’s top special teams gunners help secure him a spot? Can Marvell Tell III, a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft, successfully make the conversion from college safety to NFL corner? Can Shakial Taylor defy the odds and become the latest undrafted free agent to make the Colts’ roster? It should be a terrific battle.