AFC South Rumors: Pittman, Leonard, Texans

After trading away one half of their outstanding cornerback duo in Stephon Gilmore, the Colts expressed some interest in adding to the position room, according to Bobby Kownack of The team still has Isaiah Rodgers, who ranked as the NFL’s fifth-best cornerback last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), but across from him is Kenny Moore, who ranked at 96th.

Indianapolis is unlikely to use the No. 4 overall pick to select a cornerback in the draft, but there is likely to be some strong options at 35th overall at the front of the second round. Mississippi State’s Emmanuel Forbes and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo are projected to be borderline first-round players who could fall just outside. If not, Michigan’s DJ Turner and Utah’s Clark Phillips III are expected to last into Day 2.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard also mentioned free agency as a possible route to address the position, claiming that “there’s still some free agents out there, too, that could help…if need be.” He’s not wrong. Even if the Colts don’t want to reunite with Rock Ya-Sin, veterans Shaquill Griffin, Marcus Peters, and Ronald Darby are all still available on the free agent market.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC South:

  • After sitting out his entire rookie season with an Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia diagnosis, Texans wide receiver John Metchie is hoping to make his NFL debut in 2023. According to Texans TV host Drew Dougherty, Metchie has been involved since Houston began offseason conditioning earlier this month. They plan to continue to take it one day at a time, but it’s a promising sign for a young player who is overcoming tremendous adversity to get back to the football field.
  • The Colts have a few young offensive players’ contracts expiring after the 2023 season, and earlier this month, one of those players, wide receiver Michael Pittman spoke on the topic of an extension, according to Colts staff writer JJ Stankevitz. “I wouldn’t say it’s a goal,” Pittman said. “I think that happens naturally with performance. And if it doesn’t happen this year, that’s no big deal. I mean, it’ll happen eventually. I just kind of…leave that to my agent.”
  • Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard missed making an All-Pro team for the first time in his career last season due to a combination of a concussion and the recurrence of a back injury that kept him out of 14 games. New head coach Shane Steichen gave a minor update on the situation, according to Nate Atkins of the Indianapolis Star, saying that Leonard is “progressing well,” but Steichen did not give a timetable for when Leonard might return. Indianapolis is staying optimistic but patient, something that is crucial when dealing with the tricky nature of back injuries.
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