INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts’ secondary sure is young, and in some instances, inexperienced. Because of that, many have expected the Colts to add some major components to the group this offseason — but they haven’t.
Instead, the Colts re-signed two of their own. Why? Because they like what they already have.
Although the Colts selected 11 players in April’s draft — the most selections by the team since the NFL Draft went to a seven-round format in 1994 — not one of them was a cornerback or safety. Sure, the team signed a handful of defensive backs in its undrafted free agent class, but the secondary wasn’t enough of a concern to address in the draft.
That theme has continued since the draft. Last month, the Colts reportedly hosted prominent free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland as well as safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Tre Boston, all of whom would be considered starters on many teams. One could make an argument for the Colts to sign any of the three, but nothing has come of those reported visits in the weeks following.
Former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, who has become as well known for his voice regarding social issues as his play on the field, is also a glaring name on the open market. Colts head coach Frank Reich was recently asked about potential interest in Reid, and while he didn’t want to get into specifics, he said the team is constantly evaluating its roster, keeping in mind what’s available in the open market.
“I don’t get into specific names about who was talked about in what meeting or this, but I can tell you that every position is looked at. Who are the good football players out there that (could) help us be a better team?” Reich said. “And right now, to be honest with you, we are really excited about the young guys we have got in the building. (We’re) always evaluating and always looking to try to get better. I just think that’s our approach.”
So with every team knowing that Reid is available, and with the Colts already rumored to be kicking the tires on the likes of three talented veterans in Breeland, Vaccaro and Boston, it says a lot about the current players on the roster that the Colts have not felt an urgency to bolster the secondary.
The 17 defensive backs currently on the roster average 23.6 years of age and 4.2 career starts, but they will be relied upon to keep opposing passing games in check in 2018. They’re young, but there is immense upside there.
The Colts’ defensive system under coordinator Matt Eberflus will focus on simplifying things for players so they can play more freely and without constantly having to play a mental game. It should allow the players to use their speed, athleticism and instincts to fly around and make plays on the ball.
As Colts defensive backs/safeties coach Alan Williams said, “Youth is OK if it’s talented.”
“And I think our youth is talented,” Williams told Colts.com last month. “So that’s always a good thing. That means you get to mold the guys how you want them to be. So, as a coach, that’s what you want: we get to teach them, mold them, make sure that they’re drinking the Kool-Aid. And the guys are, so that’s a good thing.”
Talent acquisition, general manager Chris Ballard has said, is a 365-day job, and the Colts are always looking to upgrade anywhere, so there is always the possibility someone still gets added. This is especially true after the preseason when rosters around the league are cut from 90 players down to 53.
However, you don’t stand here in June with a lack of major moves without trusting your current group. Experience is the greatest teacher, and the Colts’ secondary will be an example of that in 2018.