INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts stayed true to their defensive overhaul on Friday, taking Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson in the second round of the NFL draft and Ohio University defensive end Tarell Basham in the third round.
Wilson fills a clear need for the Colts, who have no experienced starter to play opposite two-time Pro Bowler Vontae Davis.
Basham adds an edge pass-rusher for a team that had only 33 sacks last season and lost its top two pass-rushers. After combining for 16 sacks, Robert Mathis retired and Erik Walden left in free agency.
The 6-foot-1, 213-pound Wilson, taken 46th overall, becomes yet another piece in new general manager Chris Ballard’s puzzle. When he took the job in January, Ballard promised to fix the defense and he’s certainly tried — by signing eight veteran defensive free agents and using his first three draft choices on defensive players. Indy took Ohio State safety Malik Hooker in the first round Thursday.
It’s the first time since 2010, and the fourth time since 2000, that the Colts have used their first three draft picks exclusively on defensive players.
Last season, Wilson started all 13 games for the Gators, had three interceptions and then declared for the draft after his junior season. He started nine games in 2015 and two in 2014. In three seasons at Florida, two as a starter, Wilson had 81 tackles, six interceptions and 14 passes defensed.
While some scouts believe Wilson may be better suited to play safety in the NFL, Wilson said the Colts have informed him they expect him to stay at cornerback.
The addition of two potential play-makers in the secondary certainly could change how Indy plays. They were ranked No. 30 against the pass over the past two seasons and they still lack depth in the secondary.
At 6-4, 269 pounds, Basham was named the Mid-American Conference defensive player of the year after finishing with 11½ sacks. He finished his career as the Bobcats’ all-time sacks leader (29½).
Indy took him at No. 80.
The Colts are expected to start Saturday with four more draft picks. They have three in the fourth round — at No. 121, the Patriots’ at No. 137 and a compensatory pick at No. 144. Indy acquired New England’s pick in the Dwayne Allen trade. Indy’s final selection is expected to come in the fifth round at No. 158 overall. 158 overall.