INDIANAPOLIS – "You can never have enough corners."
Spoken like a defensive coach virtually his entire coaching life, Chuck Pagano knows the value premier corner play does for any defense, particularly his.
It's a need for the Colts as they hit the offseason trail in 2016.
Vontae Davis is locked up.
Fellow starter Greg Toler is an unrestricted free agent.
Pagano, who calls himself an "assistant secondary coach" this season, and Ryan Grigson share similar beliefs in the trickle down effect that comes from the defensive backfield.
"We've always played really good defense when our secondary has been playing well, when those two (outside) guys and the inside guy are locking (wide receivers) down and we have been the no fly zone," Grigson said at this year's NFL Combine. "That's when we've played our best defense.
"Any Chuck Pagano-type defense is going to rely on very strong corner play, because if we have great corner play that means we can rush more. You have more bodies and can create more opportunities for yourself when you have really good man-to-man cover skills."
Grigson knows how steep of a price acquiring those coveted traits can be when searching for guys to thrive on an island.
Another pre-requisite the Colts are in search for at corner is the ability to play inside/outside.
Third-down defense is a focus for improvement this offseason for Grigson.
With NFL offenses constantly looking to spread the field on the money down, extra corners (and speed) are a must.
A third cornerback isn't listed in the starting 11 for defensive teams, but they might as well be. Colts nickel Darius Butler played 50 percent of the defensive snaps last season, despite missing two games due to injury.
With Butler turning 30 in March, the time is ticking on finding youth at nickel.
Corners under contract for the Colts next season are as followed: Davis, Butler, Jalil Brown, D'Joun Smith (third-round pick in 2015), Tevin Mitchel (sixth-round pick in 2015), Tay Glover-Wright and Josh Mitchell.
Outside of the first three, there's minimal experience in a group that the Colts would love to see someone emerge from in 2016.
"We've got some guys on the roster right now that people don't even know their names that have length and nickel and outside value, guys that were on our practice squad, on other team's squads last year that I'm really excited to see on the field come OTAs," Grigson said at the Combine.
"We've got to have some of those guys come through, because we just don't have the resources to plug every single need come draft day."