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Khari Willis Top-10 Defensive Rookie

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Khari Willis

Team: Indianapolis Colts | Position: S

While second-round cornerback Rock Ya-Sin has been stingy in man-to-man coverage, he's struggled in coordinator Matt Eberflus' frequent zone looks. Fourth-round safety Willis, on the other hand, has been a revelation as a stand-in for injured starters Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers. The former Michigan State star caught NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger's eye in the Colts' upset victory over the Chiefs, logging playing time in the box, at free safety, along the defensive line, in the slot and even out wide. It shouldn't be long before the versatile rookie overtakes Geathers for the full-time job alongside Hooker.

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I absolutely love how well Willis has come on, but I'd pump the breaks a bit on Baldingers's take. KC's passing game was a shell of what it traditionally is when we played them. He's done much better than I thought he would, but he's going to need some time before he's crowned. 

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1 hour ago, EastStreet said:

I absolutely love how well Willis has come on, but I'd pump the breaks a bit on Baldingers's take. KC's passing game was a shell of what it traditionally is when we played them. He's done much better than I thought he would, but he's going to need some time before he's crowned. 

That is correct, KC isn’t at 100% but when called upon, Willis has no doubt stepped up to the challenges put in front of him and you could add into this mix that we don’t have Leonard in during this time either and our corners have been banged up. I will concede your cautious approach but I too will give him credit because we know that it’s quite possible that the kid could have been thrown into the mix and been picked on too. 
 

if one of the guys we’ve picked up for the beef in the middle does anything at all for stopping the run, Leonard probably once again looks like that dominate guy we seen in his rookie year. Last season we had some beef in the middle and it helped stop that run and Leonard was able to get rolling, gain much confidence and play with extreme success. This year that gap in the middle has been allowing guys to get on top of our LB’s and therefore less success. Given Leonard is only a second year guy, he isn’t having the success he expected and it affected his confidence and he is maybe overthinking and trying to do to much. 
 

my point in discussing Leonard and the DT in the middle is it also affects how the defense gets set up and plays. That safety has a bit more responsibility now in protecting that run they anticipate getting through the middle and the vulnerability up the middle to the over the lb’er or safety in the box and in front of that FS. I think Willis has done remarkable trying to make the right reads with less than optimal defensive play around him. As a rookie to boot. I like what I’ve seen so far. Close that middle down with one DT instead of having to expect the Lb to get up there and Willis makes even more of an impact. 

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3 minutes ago, cbear said:

What's his grade for all dbs?  Anybody know?

dont know his exact rank but pff grade is 70.8 which is in the good range

 

hooker got 76 if anyone cares 

 

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47 minutes ago, cbear said:

What's his grade for all dbs?  Anybody know?

 

Willis is 22nd out of  79 qualifying safeties, which is pretty good for a rookie, Hooker is 15th, while Geathers is 59th with a PFF grade of 56.4.

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