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Colts position recap: Safeties

After making the transition from free safety to strong safety, Julian Blackmon went on to lead the team in interceptions and passes defended in 2023.

On the field

Table inside Article
Player Snap Count Tackles Passes Defended Interceptions
Henry Black 0 0 0 0
Julian Blackmon 952 88 8 4
Nick Cross 287 39 2 1
Trevor Denbow 7 12 0 0
Daniel Scott 0 0 0 0
Rodney Thomas II 929 34 4 2

A look back at some of the best shots of the Indianapolis Colts' safeties from the 2023 season.

Review of the 2023 season

Similar to the cornerback group, the Colts' safeties were young. Of the players to take a snap this season, no one besides Julian Blackmon was in the NFL before 2022.

Even Blackmon was going to go through some growing pains of his own. After playing free safety for the first three years of his career, Blackmon moved to strong safety in 2023. He went on to lead the team in passes defended (eight) and interceptions (four).

"I thought Julian Blackmon played really good football this year," general manager Chris Ballard said. "It sucked when he got hurt, that hurt – it did when we lost him. I thought he played excellent football. Moving (Ronnie) Harrison Jr., we kind of put him at linebacker for a while – he was kind of almost like a dime linebacker for a while and then we kicked him back to safety. I thought like everything, fortunate to have him because I thought he played pretty good football when he went in there. But he just hadn't been playing a lot of safety up to that point, but I thought he played pretty good football."

At free safety, it was primarily second-year players Rodney Thomas II and Nick Cross who held down the fort.

"I do think we've got to get more consistency out of the free safety position," Ballard said. "That's not quite a knock, because they're both young players. Thomas had some good moments, Cross had some really good moments but we need more consistent moments from that position."

2024 Outlook

During the offseason, rookie Daniel Scott was starting to turn heads. However, after suffering a knee injury his rookie season came to an end before it actually began.

"We were really excited about Scott," Ballard said. "He tears his ACL during OTAs. Let me tell you about him, he did not miss one day of practice. I don't know if I've ever been around a kid that just every day in the same spot paying attention, dialing in mentally – every single day from training camp to the end of the year. The kid didn't miss a day. So, getting him back will be good for our back end. He's smart. He's athletic. We really liked what we saw the limited time that we had him."

Blackmon also ended the season on the injured reserve list. While he is slated to return in 2024, he is an unrestricted free agent.

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