After putting in a ton of work on rebuilding key areas of the roster — specifically quarterback, left tackle and defensive end — one key area of concern remains for the Indianapolis Colts ahead of the 2021 season: No. 3 cornerback.
That might seem like a bit of nitpicking, but the last two seasons the Colts have found themselves in nickel personnel more than 50% of the time, meaning that the No. 3 cornerback battle is an important one for the Colts' chances in 2021.
Veterans Kenny Moore II and Xavier Rhodes clearly slot in as CB1 and CB2, respectively, but when the Colts transform into nickel defense, Moore slides into the slot, meaning guys like Rock Ya-Sin, Marvell Tell III, T.J. Carrie and Isaiah Rodgers will be battling it out for the third cornerback role, especially after Ya-Sin had a rough 2020 season and is struggling with consistency overall in his career.
For now, Ya-Sin is in the driver's seat to win the job in training camp. He is a former second-round pick that has really struggled early in his career, especially coming off of a 2020 season that saw him grade out at a poor 49.9 in Pro Football Focus's metrics.
In two seasons with the Colts, Ya-Sin has allowed more than 70% of passes thrown his way to be completed, which just won't cut it. He also struggles with penalties, recording 14 in two seasons, some of which have crushed the Colts' chances on drives.
It's undoubtedly an open competition though, one that could define the Colts' secondary in 2021.
Tell returns after opting out of 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. He has a high ceiling and the coaching staff was impressed with him in 2019, which should allow him to get a real look in 2021. Add in his ability to play some safety too and it's clear that the opportunity is in front of him to really grab some playing time.
Rodgers is the dark horse in the CB3 battle. He really flashed late in 2020, especially in just five snaps in the playoffs, nearly coming up with a terrific interception of Josh Allen before allowing a touchdown on the next snap.
He's known as a dynamic kick returner, but he flashed some speed, instincts and ball skills at corner down the stretch.
While CB3 is nowhere near as important as the development of Carson Wentz, or the ability to get after the passer with a rebuilt defensive end group featuring rookie Kwity Paye, young guns in Ben Banogu, Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay, and veterans in Al-Quadin Muhammed and Isaac Rochell, but after the Tennessee Titans trading for Julio Jones Sunday, cornerback depth gets pushed higher up the list when it comes to the Colts' chances.
Have thoughts on the CB3 battle ahead of the 2021 season? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know your thoughts!