5 nickel CBs the Colts are targeting in 2024 NFL draft.

Until the Indianapolis Colts go through free agency, there isn’t a clear position that Chris Ballard needs to target in the upcoming NFL draft.

Free agency should help clear up some question marks surrounding the roster and one area on the defense that can end up becoming a big need is if the team doesn’t re-sign Kenny Moore II.

I am in the camp that Moore II has to be brought back in 2024 but even with him on the roster, Ballard should keep nickel cornerbacks on his radar in the draft.

Moore II will be 29 next season and if he is re-signed, it will likely come on a 2-3 year deal so the future has to be considered. As well as that, Moore II has missed six games in the past two years and when he is out of the lineup, it is very apparent that the defense misses him.

Adding depth at nickel can give Gus Bradley an option if Moore II has to miss any time and not be forced to utilize his safeties in that role like he has in the past.

Here are five corners that Ballard can target for the nickel role in the draft

1. Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press

The former receiver converted into cornerback ahead of the 2022 season. Mike Sainristil made a seamless transition into the nickel corner role for the Michigan Wolverines. Over the last two years, he started in 26 games while playing 985 of his 1,372 snaps in the slot according to PFF. In his final season at Michigan, he finished with 44 tackles (26 solo), four TFLs, a sack, six pass defenses, six interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

Sainristil is an undersized corner but makes up with his feistiness in coverage and physical play in run defense. His ability to defend the run and be used as a blitzer is similar to what Kenny Moore II provides to the Indy defense. I like him as a player to develop for the future of the nickel position for the Colts’ defense.

2. Jarrian Jones, Florida State

Jarrian Jones was a key piece to Florida State’s defense in their 2023 run. After playing as a boundary corner in 2021 and 2022, he slid inside to the slot in his final college season and thrived in the position change. In the previous two seasons, he only played 25 snaps in the slot but that skyrocketed to 394 in 2023 after the change according to PFF.

In his final year, he collected 25 tackles (16 solo), five TFLs, a sack, three pass defenses, three interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Jones offers nice size at the position and has a great athletic ability that he can showcase with his sticky coverage on receivers. His experience on the outside gives him the versatility to a team if injuries occur.
He’s currently projected to go anywhere from late on Day 2 to early on Day 3.

3. Daequan Hardy, Penn State

Daequan Hardy spent the last three seasons as the nickel corner for the Penn State Nittany Lions defense. He played 609 snaps in the slot in the last three years but was needed on the boundary in 2023 where he registered 125 snaps according to PFF. Hardy brings that experience but due to his size, his best spot at the next level is sticking as a nickel corner.

In his final college season, he registered 22 tackles (12 solo), three TFLs, a sack, seven pass defenses, and two interceptions. Hardy also does bring special teams value as a punt returner, he took two returns for a touchdown in a single game this past season. He plays the position with good instincts and his reaction speed allows him to put himself in a position to make a play.

4. Jarvis Brownlee Jr., Louisville
Jarvis Brownlee Jr. enters the league with experience primarily playing out on the boundary. According to PFF, in his last season he played 337 snaps outside and just 97 in the slot but due to his size, his best chance at success in the NFL is to slide inside. At the Senior Bowl, he was measured at 5-foot-10, 183 pounds, but had one of the longest arm lengths with 31.75 inches.

In his last year at Louisville, he collected 30 tackles (16 solo), a TFL, six pass defenses, an interception, and a fumble recovery. Brownlee Jr. doesn’t let his size hold him back from playing the position physically and is solid in run support. His versatility can help the team if injuries occur.
He’s currently projected to go on Day 3 but after a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, if he tests well at the NFL combine then he could see his stock put him in Day 2.

5. Myles Harden, South Dakota


A diamond in the rough in this NFL draft could be South Dakota cornerback Myles Harden. The small school player played on the boundary but his size is likely going to push him into a nickel corner role at the next level. At the Shrine Bowl, he was measured at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds. Harden was one of the fastest players at the All-Star game, registering 20.84 MPH, his speed can help him rise the ranks in the draft process.

In his final college season, he finished with 58 tackles (31 solo), four TFLs, seven pass defenses, an interception, and a fumble recovery. His twitchiness allows him to stick in receivers’ hips and isn’t afraid to jam and get physical in coverage. The speed I mentioned should help him provide special teams value as a gunner.

He’s currently projected to go late on Day 3.



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