Colts 2022 Position Recap: Safeties

The Colts saw strong seasons from seventh-round rookie Rodney Thomas II and veteran Rodney McLeod Jr. 

Rodney Thomas

2022 Depth Chart

  • Rodney McLeod Jr. (17 games, 2 interceptions, 6 pass break-ups, 96 tackles, 8 TFLs)
  • Rodney Thomas II (17 games, 4 interceptions, two pass break-ups, 52 tackles)
  • Julian Blackmon (14 games, 1 interception, 1 pass break-up, 50 tackles, 2 TFLs)
  • Nick Cross (16 games, 17 tackles)
  • Trevor Denbow (2 games)

3 Things To Know

  • The Colts pivoted from their Week 1 safety duo. Julian Blackmon and Nick Cross were the Colts' starting safeties in Week 1, but by Week 4, it was Rodney Thomas II and Rodney McLeod Jr. After Blackmon sustained an injury in Week 3, Thomas stepped in and played well; the Colts felt like McLeod's experience would serve the defense well and swapped him in for Cross heading into in Week 3. While Blackmon returned to start at safety midway through the season, he was shifted to nickel corner after Kenny Moore II injured his ankle in Week 12, giving way to the Rodney-Rodney pairing once again.
  • Thomas was a revelation as a seventh-round pick. From a production standpoint, Thomas excelled (four interceptions, 52 tackles). But more importantly, he was sound with his assignments and techniques. The Colts allowed the eighth-fewest explosive passing plays (82) in the NFL, and allowed the 13th-lowest explosive play rate (12.6 percent) in the NFL. They don't hit those numbers without consistently solid play from their primary free safety in Thomas.
  • McLeod played at a high level. Among safeties, McLeod's 13 tackles for a loss/no gain led the NFL; his six pass break-ups were tied for second; his 15 run stops were tied for 10th; and his 85.3 Pro Football Focus coverage grade ranked third. As the strong safety in Gus Bradley's defense, McLeod was asked to defend both the run and the pass – and he was a force against both in 2022. McLeod's 96 tackles were a career high, too, set in his 11th season in the NFL.

1 Big Stat

Players drafted No. 200 or later with 4+ interceptions as rookies, 1980-present:

Table inside Article
PlayerYearTeamRound-Overall PickInterceptions
Rodney Thomas II2022IND7-2394
Darren Perry1992PIT8-2036
David Tate1988CHI8-2084
Kerry Glenn1985NYJ10-2624
David Greenwood1985TAM8-2065
Eugene Daniel1984IND8-2056
Ken Coffey1983WAS9-2264
Al Richardson1980ATL8-2017

What's Next

McLeod will become an unrestricted free agent in March, while Blackmon, Cross and Thomas are all under contract for 2023.

A look back at the Colts' safeties through photos from the 2022 season.

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