INDIANAPOLIS – It’s probably the most obvious remaining need for the Colts in 2017.
Who will line up opposite Vontae Davis this fall?
That’s anyone’s guess.
When the NFL Draft gets underway three weeks from Thursday, the Colts will be monitoring the cornerback group very closely.
“We no question need a young corner,” Owner Jim Irsay says.
“We still need some work in the secondary, absolutely we do,” GM Chris Ballard adds.
Since the Colts acquired Davis via trade just prior to the start of the 2012 season, the team’s No. 2 cornerback has really never been set in stone on a consistent basis.
Greg Toler battled injuries throughout his three seasons with the Colts.
Guys like Jerrraud Powers, Cassius Vaughn, Darius Butler, Jalil Brown, Patrick Robinson, Antonio Cromartie and Rashaan Melvin have all trotted out there to man the other side of the field opposite Davis.
And there’s a good chance another name will be joining that bunch in 2017.
While Melvin, who the staff remains high on, and Darryl Morris are still on the roster after filling in adequately last season, Pagano knows where the premium talent is likely to come.
As a former defensive backs coach, Pagano likes what he sees in the ’17 draft class in the secondary.
“This is a really good draft when it comes to secondary,” Pagano says. “With the corners and safety prospects in this draft, you’re going to get a good player. There’s great length, there’s great speed, guys with ball skills, guys with the skill set we’re looking for (at corner). It’ll be up to us how quickly we can develop those guys and get them on the field."
How the Colts will handle that No. 2 cornerback spot this season changed a bit in the past month.
First, Patrick Robinson was released at the start of free agency. Robinson’s one-year stint as the starter opposite Davis ended after an injury riddled season with the Colts.
Then, Darius Butler re-signed as a safety. Butler's days of seeing some cornerback action, mainly in the slot, appear over.
That leaves the Colts in this current situation with some unknown.
Who starts at corner with Davis in 2017 is still a mystery nearly a month into free agency.
Before the Colts get closer to that answer, Pagano knows what he must get out of his top corner playing in a contract season in 2017.
“We need consistent play out of Vontae,” Pagano says. “We need him to be there week-after-week-after-week. And we need him to be there for 16 weeks and play at a level that we know he can play at week after week. That’s the expectation for Vontae. He knows that.
And that other corner spot?
“With the draft, with the guys we have coming back,” Pagano says, “it’ll be great competition.”*
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.*