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Isaiah Rodgers: Colts' Best Kept Secret?

Bleacher Report has listed cornerback/kickoff returner Isaiah Rodgers as the Colts' best-kept secret.

The Indianapolis Colts have some notable defensive backs on their roster.

Stephon Gilmore has five Pro Bowls, two All-Pros, a Super Bowl win, and a Defensive Player of the Year award on his resumé. Kenny Moore II just made his first Pro Bowl and is considered arguably the best slot defender in the NFL. Julian Blackmon, Brandon Facyson, Rodney McLeod, Armani Watts, and Khari Willis all have plenty of experience.

However, the Colts' biggest hidden gem may be third-year cornerback and kickoff returner Isaiah Rodgers, who has been nearly impossible to keep off the field as his career develops.

Bleacher Report certainly agrees as Maurice Moton listed Rodgers as the team's "best-kept secret."

In the Indianapolis Colts secondary, 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and Pro Bowl cornerback Kenny Moore II will garner the spotlight. Even though Isaiah Rodgers made strides through his second pro season, he'll head into the 2022 campaign as an unheralded defender for a top-10 scoring unit.

Last year, Rodgers lined up primarily on the boundary and recorded seven pass breakups and three interceptions while allowing a 78.1 passer rating in coverage. In two terms, he made the jump from a high-end kick returner (24 returns for 692 yards and a touchdown in 2020) to a solid cover man on the perimeter who's also a productive special teamer.

Though the Colts signed Brandon Facyson, who's played under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley with the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders, Rodgers should move into a full-time starting position (on the outside) in the nickel alignment following a productive year in coverage.

Rodgers was a sixth-round pick by the Colts in the 2020 NFL Draft, selected primarily as a special teamer after leading college football in kickoff return yardage the year prior.

He did impress as a return man with the Colts as a rookie, earning PFWA All-Rookie Team honors after a 101-yard return touchdown and finishing third in the league in return average (28.8). However, Rodgers has also become an impressive young defender.

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Standing at just 5'10", 170 pounds, Rodgers looks like the type of matchup that opposing offenses would want to attack, but that has proven to be a poor choice for the most part. He's not without his slipups, but Rodgers has allowed an opponent passer rating of just 78.0 for his career. Two of his three career interceptions have come against quarterbacks Tom Brady and Derek Carr.

Through two seasons, Rodgers has a Pro Football Focus grade of 78.3, which would've ranked ninth among all NFL corners who played at least 500 snaps in 2021. Still, his season grade of 70.7 ranked 24th.

Rodgers' role should be similar in 2022 as it was in 2021 when he had to split snaps with Rock Ya-Sin and Xavier Rhodes. This year, his main competition is newcomer Facyson, as Gilmore and Moore are pretty set in stone as starters. One thing to keep an eye on, however, will be Moore's contract situation, as he is currently reportedly holding out. Rodgers likely has the most to gain if Moore continues to sit out of practice.

In 30 career games (1 start), Rodgers has totaled 56 tackles (1 for loss), 3 interceptions, and 7 pass breakups on defense. As a return specialist, he has 43 kickoff returns for 1,193 yards (27.7 avg.) and 1 touchdown.

*If you haven't yet read it, our Zach Hicks recently detailed why Rodgers is ready for a breakout in 2022*

What do you expect from Rodgers in 2022? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!


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