Colts Need Elite Cornerback Play From Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson

Intro: Early on in Training Camp, we’ve seen plays being made from starting cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson. How critical are they to the Colts’ success in 2016?

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ANDERSON, Ind. – In 2014, you didn't need an entire hand to count the number of cornerbacks who played better than Vontae Davis.

The result?

-Davis' first Pro Bowl season.

-The Colts winning a road playoff game in Denver, an afternoon in which Davis recorded a remarkable five pass deflections.

-And, lastly, the Colts' defense finished the season 11th in the NFL, moving up nine spots.

Chuck Pagano, a former defensive backs coach, knows what a suffocating Davis does for the Colts.

The Colts need the 2014 version of Davis.

"He has to," Pagano says of the Colts' top cornerback getting back to his 2014-self. "He knows, in order for us to be the type of defense that we want to be, that he has to.

"There's no gray area there. He either does it, or we're not going to be the same type of defense."

Day four autograph session at the Colts 2016 Training Camp.

Davis enters his fifth season with the Colts working opposite a new starting cornerback.

Patrick Robinson, like Davis, is a former first-round pick.

In trying to solidify the second cornerback position, the Colts eventually found that guy, after an eventful free agency pursuit.

"I was just talking to one of the scouts (the other) night about what a wild ride that whole process was with Patrick," GM Ryan Grigson says. "We thought we couldn't afford him early in free agency, then we thought we lost him, then we thought we had a shot again, then we thought we lost him again. A lot of fortitude and patience was involved in that deal."

The persistence paid off.

"Patrick is a pro," Grigson says. "From Day One, he started affecting the culture of our backend in terms of ball production presence and consistency. He made plays on the ball the first day this offseason and continues to in Training Camp. Things like that tend to be contagious to a group and that is obviously a desired trait at that position."

The Colts hope that spreads like wildfire in 2016.

This camp the Colts have had to (temporarily?) move nickel corner Darius Butler to safety.

Developments of second-year corners Tevin Mitchel and D'Joun Smith are coming along and are key for depth purposes.

Those are the questions.

New coordinator Ted Monachino believes he has answers atop the cornerback depth chart.

"You've got to have physical corner play and both of those guys have those traits," Monachino says of Davis and Robinson. "They have a tendency, both of them, at times to go a little bit up and down and go in and out of each of those, but both have dominant traits in coverage. Both these guys can play man, both can play zone, both can drive and break on the ball and both have excellent ball skills.

"We're excited to have those two guys."

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