The Broncos cornerback group struggled a bit in 2018. They were without cornerback Aqib Talib who was traded to the Rams, Chris Harris Jr. missed the final quarter of the season due to a broken bone in his knee, and Bradley Roby struggled to try to replace Talib’s role in the defense. Their depth was tested too as players like rookie Isaac Yiadom and veteran Tramaine Brock received starts for the Broncos at corner throughout the year.
So now with defensive guru Vic Fangio becoming the Broncos new Head Coach, a style change and some much-needed changes are likely coming to the Broncos. One of them may very well be adding another starting cornerback via Free Agency. One name that fits that bill is Indianapolis Colts cornerback, Pierre Desir.
Experience: 5 years
Desir played his college ball at a smaller school called Lindenwood University. He played two seasons at Lindenwood but quickly made a name for himself. During his two seasons at Lindenwood, Desir totaled 93 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 13 interceptions, 30 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble. His play earned him an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl as one of the nations top seniors. He impressed that week and ended up being a 4th round pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately for Desir, he landed in Cleveland at a time where prospects go their to well, die. Like many before and after him, he wasn’t properly developed and was waived by the Browns prior to the start of the 2016 seasons. He was claimed by the Chargers but was also released by them later that year before joining the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. Desir then joined the Colts as a depth player and his career began to take off from there.
He ended up playing in 9 games for the Colts after quickly rising up the depth chart and started in 6 of those games. This play earned Desir another contract by the Colts and he ended up having a breakout campaign for the Colts and likely earned himself a big payday from some team this free agency.
During Desir’s five-year career, Desir totaled 160 tackles, 23 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. This past season for the Colts, Desir totaled 79 tackles, 8 pass deflections, 1 interception, and 2 forced fumbles.
Pierre Desir made his name known with the Colts this season. pic.twitter.com/79QRMbxFIo— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 2, 2019
Pro Football Focus graded Desir as their 18th best cornerback in 2018 and gave him a 77.5 overall grade.
Now 973 healthy defensive snaps (includes Wild Card round) into his one-year deal, Desir has earned a 78.1 overall grade, 90.1 run-defense grade and a 73.9 coverage grade, ranking 17th, second and 22nd, respectively. Though he only has two game grades above 75.0 on the year, he doesn’t have a single game grade under 56.0 – high-floor consistency goes a long way in the NFL, especially at the cornerback position.
Desir now enters free agency and could be high on the Broncos wishlist once the free agency period opens next month.
Why it makes sense:
The Broncos need another starting outside conerback (maybe two) and Desir is just that. He has good size at 6’1” and has proven himself recently against the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and Tyreek Hill.
Most recently, Desir recorded one tackle in the run game, and limited Houston Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to two receptions for 16 yards and two first downs from five targets in the Colts’ Wild Card matchup with Hopkins & Co., an impressive feat by all measures. He also recorded a pass breakup on one of the five targets in his and Hopkins’ direction.
Another reason why this makes sense is that Desir is a damn near perfect fit for Vic Fangio’s defense. Desir is a zone corner and Fangio runs a zone scheme. He asks his corners to be effective in the run game and Desir was one of the better in that area this past season according to PFF.
As evidenced by his 90.7 run-defense grade, Desir is also an impact player where many cornerbacks fall way short of expectations. He’s missed zero tackles, recorded seven run stops and three tackles for no gain or loss across his 334 run-defense snaps this season.
Desir might be the best cornerback on the free agent market this winter, at least for the Broncos. Adding him would get rid of one big hole on the defense and allow them to focus on other areas throughout the rest of free agency and the draft.
Why it doesn’t make sense:
I only have a few reasons why this doesn’t make sense and one of those reasons is the Colts re-signing Desir prior or during Free Agency.
The Colts are projected to have over $100 million dollars in cap space and can easily re-sign Desir if they so choose. I would imagine there would be mutual interest in this as well. Desir’s career turned while playing under the current Colts staff and may decide to stick with what made him.
So I have my doubts about Desir even being available once free agency begins. Even if he is, the Colts can match whatever offer is given to him if again, they so choose.
My only other concern is Desir being a “one hit wonder”. He was a bit of a journeyman throughout his career and had just one breakout year. Paying big money to a guy with only one season of high-end play is a bit risky.
This is a no-brainer type signing for the Broncos. He fits what Fangio and Donatell want in a corner and he fills a big need on the Broncos defense. However, it is probably unlikely that Desir leaves Indianapolis because of their gobs of cap space.
Again, I would all for this signing, but I think the Colts end up locking him up sometime in the near future.
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