Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis regressed in 2015, just one year removed from a pro-bowl caliber 2014 campaign. Can Davis get back to his ways as one of the league’s top corners this upcoming season?
The Indianapolis Colts acquired Vontae Davis from the Miami Dolphins via trade just before the 2012 season had begun. The Dolphins would get the Colts’ 2nd round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, as well as a conditional 6th round selection in the same draft in exchange for Davis.
The trade made perfect sense for the Dolphins at the time. Davis was battling with Sean Smith in training camp for the team’s starting cornerback spot. Add that to the fact that during the 2011 season the Dolphins benched Davis for showing up to a practice hungover and smelling of alcohol, and the front-office was surely growing weary of Davis.
Now, it appears that perhaps then-Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland should have given Davis another opportunity to prove his worth. Since joining the Colts in 2012, Davis has accumulated 12 interceptions, 63 passes defended and 179 tackles — earning two pro bowl honors in 2014 and 2015.
Despite making the pro bowl for the 2015 season as an alternate, Davis didn’t necessarily enjoy the same success that he had during the Colts’ 2014 season. To put things into perspective, Davis didn’t allow a single touchdown in 2014. He allowed seven in 2015 — tied for fifth-most in the league.
A few months ago, Pro Football Focus ranked the top-32 cornerback groups in the league. They had the Colts sitting at No. 20, with Davis, Patrick Robinson and D’Joun Smith being the team’s top cornerbacks.
"After his miraculous 2014 campaign (no TDs allowed, 13 pass defenses, 41.2 passer rating allowed) Davis returned to giving up too many touchdowns to be considered among the league’s elite, but 2015 was still a solid season for him. Behind him, however, the support was lacking. Another strong season from free-agent addition Patrick Robinson will give the Colts a quality starting pair, but the competition to be their third corner looks to be wide open."
It’s unclear yet as to what the Colts will do with Smith — whom they used their 2015 second-round selection on. Another name that comes to mind is Darius Butler. In years prior, Butler had played in the nickel aside from Davis and Greg Toler — and the narrative could remain the same with Robinson taking Toler’s place.
2015 could be said to be a down year for the Colts as a whole, as they suffered a mediocre season that saw quarterback Andrew Luck sidelined due to injury for nine total games.
All-in-all, Davis still succeeded more often than not in locking down opposing team’s top receivers. With an improved No. 2 corner in Robinson, his addition should make Davis’s job easier. Expect Davis to have further success this season — much similar to that of 2014.
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