Jaylon Jones

Jaylon Jones, Dallis Flowers Vying For Colts Starting CB Job; JuJu Brents Likely To Start

An early-May report indicated the Colts could be in the market for veteran help in the secondary. Boundary cornerback would seemingly be the team’s focus here. In between the offseason program and training camp, however, no such signing transpired.

The Colts, who ranked 28th in pass defense last season, included slot ace Kenny Moore among their spate of re-signings but have questions about both outside cornerback posts. One of those spots looks to be earmarked for JuJu Brents, per The Athletic’s James Boyd, but the other position will bring competition (subscription required).

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Brents may not be a true lock to start, but the Colts chose him in the 2023 second round and used him as an eight-game starter last season. Brents was sidelined for two extended stretches, though he did suit up for the team’s final four games. Pro Football Focus slotted Brents 66th among corners last season.

Opposite the Indianapolis native, the Colts feature uncertainty. The team drafted two corners, selecting Jaylin Simpson in Round 5 and Micah Abraham in Round 6, but Boyd points to Jaylon Jones and Dallis Flowers as the primary competitors for the boundary job opposite Brents.

A 10-game starter last season, Jones worked with the first-stringers for most of the Colts’ offseason workouts. The team drafted Jones in the 2023 seventh round, and the Texas A&M product made the quick move into the starting lineup. Brents missing eight games and Flowers going down with an Achilles tear in early October contributed to this, and PFF ranked Jones 94th last season. He was charged with five touchdowns allowed. Flowers made five starts in two seasons, working behind Stephon Gilmore and the Isaiah RodgersBrandon Facyson tandem in 2022, but the Division II product was working with the starters each week before going down last year.

The Colts clearly believe in their current nucleus, as their batch of re-signings and extensions — headlined by the likes of Moore, Julian Blackmon, Michael Pittman Jr., DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart — illustrate, but the team having employed Moore and still ranking in the bottom five in pass defense seems to point toward a deficiency at a rather key area.

Options are limited, as could be expected, weeks away from camp. Xavien Howard is not expected to be a Colts consideration, Boyd adds, due to the the civil suit that came up since his Dolphins release. Another potential option, Steven Nelson, retired after nine seasons. Adoree’ Jackson remains available ahead of his age-29 campaign, as does Gilmore, who will turn 34 in September. Patrick Peterson is also available ahead of his age-34 season.

Indy only has two non-homegrown players — Buckner and Samson Ebukam — projected to start (Moore technically counts, as a Patriots UDFA, but he was a Colt before his rookie season started). In the free agency era, that is obviously a rather low number. As of now, the team is preparing to roll out an entirely homegrown secondary. The Flowers-Jones competition may change that, but for the time being, Indy’s inward-focused plan extends to cornerback.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/5/23

Here are a few more mid- to late-round draft picks who signed their four-year rookie contracts today:

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

  • CB Darius Rush (fifth round, South Carolina)
  • S Daniel Scott (fifth round, California)
  • DE Titus Leo (sixth round, Wagner)
  • CB Jaylon Jones (seventh round, Texas A&M)
  • T Jake Witt (seventh round, Northern Michigan)

New York Giants

New York Jets