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With the NFL Draft three —yes
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Nyheim Hines Color Rush Jersey , only three days away, it’s time to look at 5 potential top safety prospects on Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard’s big board. The Colts have a trio of..." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteStampede Bluean Indianapolis Colts communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsColtsShopAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Colts StoriesScheduleRosterStatsYahoo Colts NewsYahoo Colts Team PageYahoo Colts ReportYahoo Colts Depth ChartYahoo Colts TransactionsYahoo Colts PhotosShop About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub ✕Filed under:Indianapolis Colts Draft CentralDraft ProspectsBallard’s Big Board: 5 Top NFL Draft Safety Prospects for Colts New,15commentsEDTShareTweetShareShareBallard’s Big Board: 5 Top NFL Draft Safety Prospects for Colts Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesWith the NFL Draft three —yes, only three days away, it’s time to look at 5 potential top safety prospects on Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard’s big board. The Colts have a trio of starting caliber safeties including Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers, and Matthias Farley, but each comes with their own durability concerns. Given the importance of the safety position in Matt Eberflus’ defensive scheme, it could be a prudent idea for the Colts to begin grooming a long-term starter to pair with Hooker in the backend of their secondary. With that being said, here’s the latest positional prospect big board:5. Juan Thornhill, S, VirginiaPhoto by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty ImagesAt 6’0”, 205 pounds, Thornhill had 98 tackles (team high), 4.5 tackles for loss, 7 passes defensed, and 6 interceptions (3rd most in nation) in 13 starts, as he earned All-ACC First-Team honors as a senior. With a 4.42 forty time and a ridiculous 44.0 inch vertical, Thornhill might be the best athlete among all prospects in this group. Thornhill transitioned from cornerback, so he has the ability to play all over the secondary. As such, he possesses impressive coverage skills and rangy, ball-hawking ability for the safety position. Still learning the position, Thornhill needs to work on his pursuit angles and honing in his instincts, as he can be fooled occasionally on play-action and deep throws. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports4. Darnell Savage, S, Maryland The 5’11”, 198 pound senior safety recorded 52 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 passes defensed, and 4 interceptions (2nd most in the Big Ten; 1 for a touchdown) in 12 starts for the Terrapins defense last season—earning 2nd-Team All-Big Ten honors. Savage ran a blistering fast 4.36 forty time and has a vertical jump of 39.5 inches, so he’s no doubt super-athletic. The former Maryland standout is fluid in coverage, has exceptional closing speed, and could be an asset for a team in the slot—perhaps playing a Micah Hyde type role for a secondary. However, he lacks ideal size and that costs him at times against bigger bodied receivers in coverage and with his overall tackling success. Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports3. Nasir Adderley https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Johnny-Unitas-Jersey , S, DelawareThe 6’0”, 206 pound senior safety had 87 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups and 4 interceptions in 12 starts for the Fightin’ Blue Hens defense. As a result of his exceptional play, Adderley was a 2nd-team AP FCS All-American and First-Team All-CAA member. Adderley has experience at both cornerback and safety, so he has the versatility and coverage skills to thrive lining up either in the slot or along the outside. He looks smooth and fluid in coverage and has the type of instincts/ball skills that teams simply covet in their secondary. On the other hand, he struggled in play recognition and can be occasionally ‘dooped’ by opposing offensive coordinators/quarterbacks in coverage.Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images2. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, FloridaMeasuring in at 5’11”, 210 pounds, the junior safety recorded 71 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, 2 passes defensed, and 4 interceptions (2 for touchdowns) in 13 games last season for the Gators notoriously stingy defense. Gardner-Johnson ran a 4.48 forty time and posted a 36.0 inch vertical, so he’s still a very good athlete compared to his contemporaries in his own right. The big defensive back can either play the slot or high as a safety, as he has tremendous versatility like many of the top end safeties in this draft class. Gardner-Johnson has impressive fluidity in overall coverage, but can struggle at times in run defense. He has the size to handle tight ends and might be one of the best coverage slot men in this group; however, he can be a bit slow in his reads and reactions at times. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images1. Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State The 5’11, 205 pound senior safety earned AP 3rd-Team All-American and 1st-Team All-SEC honors, as he had 99 tackles (team high), 9.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, 5 passes defensed, two interceptions, and a forced fumble in 13 games.Highly regarded for his instincts and hard-hitting style, Abram is the ideal nickel linebacker in a defense, as he can still hold his own effectively in coverage. However, he’s not as adept in coverage as others on this list and as such, it’s no surprise he struggles the further he is from the line of scrimmage. For a Colts team that could use an identity and improved physicality in the backend of their secondary, Abram would make a whole lot of sense. INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Frank Reich thought he could exploit the Indianapolis Colts‘ tight end advantage.Defenses still haven’t solved it.Less than a year after helping the Philadelphia Eagles win their first Super Bowl Jacoby Brissett Jersey , Reich brought the philosophy to his first head coaching job and is getting similar results.“I did expect we were going to spread it around, that’s just kind of how we roll,” Reich said Monday, a day after beating Oakland. “Now it’s probably exceeded expectations, but the expectations were pretty high to start.”There’s been little to quibble with through the first half of the season.Only three tight ends in the league have more receptions than Eric Ebron (36), a free-agent signee who finally appears to be meeting the hype of a first-round draft pick. Only Antonio Brown (eight) has more touchdown catches than Ebron (seven).Pro Bowler Jack Doyle has 15 receptions in three games and caught his first scoring pass Sunday, giving Indy a league-high 12 TD catches among four tight ends.The group played so well Sunday, they pulled off a rarer feat than Adam Vinatieri becoming the NFL’s career scoring leader, Marlon Mack becoming the first Colts’ runner with back-to-back 100-yard games since 2007 and Andrew Luck avoiding a sack in a third straight game for the first time in his pro career.Ebron, Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox became the first tight end trio to each catch a TD pass in the same game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.And they did it in style.Cox’s first career score came on an acrobatic, one-handed grab that Reich quickly dubbed one of the best catches he’s ever seen. It’s the first time fans really witnessed what the former college basketball star and undrafted free agent really could do on the football field.Ebron’s score came as he tap-danced along the sideline for the tying score in the third quarter.Doyle gave Indy the final lead change of the game with a 10-yard catch-and-run that ended with Doyle diving just inside the pylon.“What an awesome job our tight end group does to complement this offense, to complement the wide outs, to complement each other in the way we play,” Luck said.“I think there’s a lot of different personnel groups that run out on that field. It basically allows us to be successful in all those personnel groups, and I think that puts a lot of pressure on a defense.”It’s all by design.Reich saw how effective the tight ends could be during previous stints with the Colts, Chargers and the past two seasons in Philadelphia.So when he returned to Indy and found the reliable Doyle and Erik Swoope, another college basketball convert, on the roster, Reich figured why not start building around tight ends. The Colts lured Ebron from Detroit, where he fell out of favor because of his reputation for drops, and they signed Ryan Hewitt in early September after he was cut by Cincinnati.Alie-Cox has proved a pleasant surprise after spending last season on the Colts’ practice squad, reacquainting himself with a sport he hadn’t played since transferring to a non-football playing high school in Virginia.“I bet in the last month there’s probably been three, four, maybe even five wow moments on the practice field involving Mo, although the one in the game might have been better than all those we saw on the practice field,” Reich said. “I remember when we got here and Chris is telling me about Mo and saying he really thought Mo had something to him.”Now it’s translating to success on the field.Indy (3-5) heads into its bye week on a two-game winning streak, in large part because its tight ends have been able to stretch the field and continue to play their part in protecting Luck and creating holes for Mack.If they keep it up, the Colts could play their way back into the AFC South race. They’re just two games out of the division lead with home games looming against Jacksonville (3-5), Tennessee (3-4) and Miami (4-4) following the bye and the second-easiest schedule remaining.“As we’ve said all offseason, the tight ends are a point of strength for this team and this offensive roster,” Reich said. “They showed up big (Sunday).”Note: Indy signed offensive tackle Antonio Garcia to the practice squad Monday.
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