What the Colts' cornerback room may lack in experience – outside of veteran Kenny Moore II – it makes up for in traits.
Following the June release of Isaiah Rodgers Sr., who was found to be in violation of the NFL's gambling policy, the guys who will compete to start at outside cornerback during training camp have a combined 174 snaps on defense.
And all of those snaps belong to Dallis Flowers, the 2022 undrafted free agent who got some run with the Colts' defense down the stretch of his rookie year. The other four primary guys – and there could always be more who emerge, either currently or not currently on the roster – don't have any NFL defensive experience. Darrell Baker Jr. joined the Colts' practice squad last year and played a bit on special teams, while JuJu Brents, Darius Rush and Jaylon Jones were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
But again, what those players may lack in experience, they very well may make up for in the kind of raw traits defensive coordinator Gus Bradley values in his cornerbacks: Length (height/wingspan), speed (40-yard dash) and athleticism (vertical leap, among other measurables).
|Player||Height||Wingspan||40-yard dash||Vertical leap|
|Darrell Baker Jr.||6-1||77 7/8"||4.41||41.5"|
|JuJu Brents||6-3||85 5/8"||4.53||41.5"|
|Jaylon Jones||6-2||76 3/4"||4.57||38"|
|Darius Rush||6-2||79 5/8"||4.36||35"|
*Testing data pulled from NFL Combine and Pro Day results, via the Athletic's Dane Brugler
"They've got the length that you look for at times," Bradley said. "That can be good and that can be bad. It all comes back to ability, but it's a good starting point with those guys. They use it as an asset for them."
The question to be answered in training camp, then, is who uses their natural traits and talents the best over competitive practices in Westfield and preseason games against the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. But having five, maybe more, players in the mix to win two starting spots should ideally create the kind of competition coaches crave – one that not only produces two quality starters, but a crop of hungry reserves as well.
"You need depth at that spot," Bradley said, "and then just see who rises to the top."