This offseason the Indianapolis Colts said goodbye to their eight year veteran Antoine Bethea, who was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers.
This has caused what could be the biggest hole to fill in free agency. Bethea is a two-time Pro Bowler and played a big role in the Colts’ Super Bowl run in 2006. Over the last four seasons, Bethea had forced three fumbles, as well as adding three interceptions. He also had over one hundred tackles each season over that same span. So who can fill the hole left by this veteran?
The Colts need to look no further than its own depth chart and they will find Delano Howell.
Howell is a three year veteran who has filled in at safety when others went down. This included six games last year after LeRon Landry was injured. He racked up 19 tackles and defended one pass last season. He is a player with good speed and can become a good free roaming safety.
For this to happen, Landry would have to switch down to strong safety, a position that he may be better suited for anyway. Landry has the football IQ to direct the backfield and the awareness to react to the ball. This would leave the quicker Howell to be more of a coverage safety.
The Colts also resigned safety and special teams ace Sergio Brown over the offseason. Brown has played in 30 regular season games in his two seasons with the team. He only has 20 combined tackles, one forced fumble, and has defended on pass. He was given a one-year $1.1 million contract as a potential replacement for Bethea.
If the Colts do not make any big moves for a safety in the upcoming draft(Chuck Pagano stated however they will draft a safety) , Bethea spot will be most likely be between Brown and Howell. That being the case, Howell will be on the starting line-up on opening day.