John Boyett to Colts: How Does FS Fit with Indianapolis?
The ideal pick here for a coverage free safety was Georgia's Bacarri Rambo, but Rambo was snatched up by the Redskins one pick prior to the Colts. After Washington's pick was announced, the Colts seemed a little flustered, taking longer than they have in previous picks to submit the selection.
While I was disappointed that Rambo wasn't available, Boyett fits the profile of a player that is both necessary on the roster from a talent standpoint, as well as a typical Ryan Grigson/Chuck Pagano player from a character standpoint.
In terms of fitting the roster, the Colts currently have three safeties that will be the main rotation: Antoine Bethea (FS), LaRon Landry (SS), and Joe Lefeged who is capable of playing both. Antoine Bethea and Joe Lefeged's contracts are up after 2013, and the Colts desperately need long-term depth at the position.
Boyett has an injury history that may delay his contribution in 2013, but he definitely has the skill to be a rotational player and special teams contributor at worst.
Boyett has fantastic instincts at free safety, allowing him to make a jump on the ball very quickly. He's athletic and his leaping ability and very good ball skills in the air allows him to make up for having shorter arms.He finished his career at Oregon with 10 interceptions and 30 pass deflections despite missing most of his senior year with an injury.
As Paul Kuharsky of ESPN pointed out, Boyett will sit behind Bethea in 2013, another low-draft pick who has very good instincts and intelligence. Boyett does his homework and knows offensive tendencies, rarely getting out of position in coverage.
Similarly in run support, Boyett takes good angles and sees the field well. He's aggressive and generally has good form in tackling, despite his lack of size.
Boyett was reportedly a very good teammate and leader at Oregon, and fits the mold of a tough, high-character guy that the Colts' brass has been fond of in this draft.
For the Colts, the biggest concern for Boyett will be his injury history. Boyett played through nagging injuries in 2011, and then tore both Patellar tendons in early 2012. The injuries should be healed prior to the 2013 season, but setbacks could still occur and delay his contributions.
Even without the injuries, Boyett lacks elite speed at safety, which is why he desperately needs those elite instincts. He also has shorter arms than ideal for a safety, as well as less height. He could be vulnerable to deep jump balls at the next level.
Boyett doesn't really have the quickness to be matched up in man coverage, and should be kept out of slot coverage as much as possible.
For what the Colts are looking for at safety, I really like this pick. With LaRon Landry signed to a four-year deal at strong safety, the Colts need to pair him with a safety that can play over the top in a center fielder-type of role.
Boyett played that role at Oregon for most of his career, and has the range to be able to in the NFL. If he can recover and get on the field, I love his potential to be Bethea's replacement.
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