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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Stat to solve: Colts' inside pass defense

By Paul Kuharsky

Bob Sanders is long gone, and injury-prone Melvin Bullitt is not with the Indianapolis Colts anymore.

Indianapolis has a dire need at strong safety, where the Colts platooned David Caldwell and Joe Lefeged last season after Bullitt was lost early on with a shoulder injury.

Even with Tom Zbikowski added, they need an upgrade next to free safety Antoine Bethea, a strong player against both the pass and the run.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Colts defense was last in the NFL on throws more than10 air yards inside the numbers in three important categories: completion percentage (72.7), yards per attempt (16.1) and attempts per TD (7.9).

Better defense on short passes over the middle is an absolute necessity for the Colts if they are going to be more effective under first-year coach Chuck Pagano and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.

Safety is thin in the draft, and strong safety is particularly thin. Possible candidates include South Carolina's Antonio Allen (fourth or fifth round projection), Alabama's DeQuan Menzie (fifth), Arkansas State's Kelcie McCray (fifth), LSU's Brandon Taylor (sixth).

Can one of those guys start on opening day? It'll probably take a good combination of scouting projecting and coaching to make it happen.