INDIANAPOLIS — Safety Tavon Wilson has quickly acclimated himself to the Indianapolis Colts defense since being signed as a free agent one week ago.
On Tuesday, Wilson ran into Colts rookie running back Jonathan Taylor. And Taylor ran him over.
The highlight moment in Tuesday’s second padded practice had teammates providing boisterous feedback after Taylor lowered his shoulder and delivered the punishing blow, then kept chugging while Wilson hit the ground.
As much as Taylor is touted for his 4.39-second speed in the 40-yard dash, he showed once again that his 5-10, 226-pound frame is also built for power. Wilson can attest.
That’s why the Colts moved up three spots to draft Taylor with the 41st overall pick in April’s NFL draft. He’s been impressive in the two padded workouts.
“With Jonathan, you see his speed and power,” third-year Colts head coach Frank Reich said in a Zoom video conference call. “Even today, Jonathan had some real nice runs, really good vision, you can see evidence of good vision and patience and the speed.”
Don’t feel too badly for Wilson, a seasoned ninth-year pro who was signed to shore up the defensive back line after reserve safety Rolan Milligan opted out. Near the end of practice, quarterback Philip Rivers missed tight end Jack Doyle and Wilson intercepted.
In a Zoom video conference call, middle linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. said he’s been impressed by Wilson. In particular, Walker noticed how Wilson quickly recognizes plays and utilizes his experience to be in ideal positions.
The Colts were without wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Trey Burton due to planned rest days, as well as cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who was away from the facility due to an illness. Nickel cornerback Kenny Moore II, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday, will miss about one week, Reich said.
Two other players who have impressed the past two days are second-year wide receiver Parris Campbell and third-year defensive tackle/end Tyquan Lewis. Both are second-round picks out of Ohio State, and are coming off seasons shortened by injuries. Lewis has had injury issues both seasons while Campbell endured three surgeries as a rookie.
They’re both playing fast and loose so far. Lewis raised eyebrows when he beat two-time All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson twice on inside moves on Monday. Campbell looks like the speedster the Colts envisioned. He’s making catches and giving defenders fits with that speed.
“He looks strong, fast, smart, explosive, good hands, understands the offense, consistent,” Reich said of Campbell. “I mean, it’s early but that’s what we are looking for from him. Now we just need that to continue to build.”
It’s still a long way to go before the Sept. 13 season opener at Jacksonville, but consider this a promising start for both. The Colts have nine more padded practices in the next two weeks.
(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is email@example.com.)