Jerraud Powers: Indianapolis' Unsung Hero
The Colts are 12-0, they are on a 21 game winning streak, Peyton Manning and the Colts set new records every week, Jim Caldwell is going to be in the running for coach of the year, and rookies and rejects from other teams are making plays when it matters most.
There are plenty of accolades to go around amongst this group, but there is one player in particular who doesn’t get spoken of a lot but who, in my opinion, is a rising star for the Colts.
Powers decided to take a risk by leaving Auburn a year early and entering the 2009 draft.
Most projections had him being drafted late in the fourth or fifth round and playing in the nickelback/dimeback role and on special teams.
The general draft analysis of Powers that was reported in many publications was the following: "Does not have the ideal height or bulk that you look for...Isn't very strong...Not a great tackler...Struggles to get off blocks...Won't offer much in run support...Takes too many chances...Durability concerns."
The above analysis is the perfect reason that there are sports commentators and then there's Bill Polian. As is usual, more often than not, Bill sees what the rest of us do not.
He is an excellent judge of talent, and not only has Powers proved the commentators wrong, he has also broken Bill's third round curse: namely, that a lot of his third round picks have been busts.
It's funny how much circumstance and luck can give a young rookie an opportunity in the NFL; it's a shame that so many squander that opportunity. Instead, consciously or unconsciously, Powers has used his chance to prove the critics wrong.
Jerraud Powers has been a starter since Week One and has only missed one game. So how has he done? Let’s look first at his individual stats and where they rank him statistically with the rest of the Colts defense:
In the 11 games that Powers has played, he has recorded 54 solo tackles and 8 assists. He has ten passes defended, one interception, and one forced fumble.
Not too shabby for a guy who "can't get off his blocks" and was considered a poor tackler.
So where does he rank when compared with the rest of the Colts defense? Oh, nothing special. He just comes in at fifth.
The players who are ahead of him, well there's really no one special on that list either:
1. Clint Session
2. Antione Bethea
3. Gary Brackett
4. Melvin Bullitt
One of those players just happens to be a Pro-Bowler, and one should be (Gary Brackett).
Let's look at something else: How does Powers' first season as a starter compare to the Colts' two starting corners (though after this season I doubt that Marlin Jackson will win his job back from Powers) first seasons as starters?
Kelvin Hayden averaged 5.18 total tackles per game, had 10 passes defended, and three interceptions.
Marlin Jackson averaged 5.43 total tackles per game, had four passes defended, and one interception.
Currently, Powers is averaging 5.63 total tackles per game, and as stated earlier, has 10 passes defended, one interception, and one forced fumble.
At 5.63 tackles per game, Powers is on pace to have roughly 84 tackles by the end of the season.
Powers' numbers are remarkable when you consider that both Hayden and Jackson, at that point in their careers, were two-year vets and had played in a Super Bowl.
Most coaches around the league agree that Powers plays beyond his years. This young man, who had a lot of knocks going against him coming into the draft, has become a very important part of why the Colts are 12-0.
It's about time that people in the mainstream media start taking notice of him. When it playoff time comes and Kelvin Hayden is completely healthy, teams are going to be facing, in my humble opinion, one of the best cornerback tandems the Colts have ever had.
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