Earlier in the week, the Indianapolis Colts reportedly met with safety Dwight Lowery, who will be entering his eighth season in the NFL. The team’s lack of depth at the position, and no perceived starter opposite Mike Adams heading into the draft, obligated the Colts to make a move on Lowery on Friday night.
The former New York Jets fourth-round pick out of San Jose State is coming off one of his most impressive seasons as a pro. Lowery was originally drafted as a cornerback and was moved exclusively to safety in his third season with the Jets. Lowery has also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2011-13) and for the Atlanta Falcons last season. In 2014, Lowery started 15 games, notching 79 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for the Falcons.
Lowery’s workload was substantially larger last season, starting the most games of his career in a season, and was graded by Pro Football Focus second only to Desmond Trufant in coverage on an awful Falcons defense. Lowery was second on the team in tackles, first in stops (among defensive backs) and allowed a catch percentage of 63.4 – which is pretty good having been thrown at over 70 times.
Lowery admittedly brings a different mind frame into his eighth season – stating that he is more team-oriented in his approach, just wanting to help a team win a Super Bowl – as opposed to being more about himself in his younger years in the NFL.
At 5’11”, 212 pounds, Lowery brings solid career numbers in the 2015 season with 257 tackles, 12 interceptions, 7 forced fumbles/fumble recoveries and 4 sacks. He could absolutely move into the starting role opposite Adams, which would give the Colts quite an experienced defensive backfield, and two of the better tacklers at the position from last season.
Both Adams and Lowery had only 10 missed tackles each in 2014, with the new tandem exceeding 1,000 snaps a piece as well.
Lowery doesn’t possess great top end, yet more than adequate speed, in combination with his great instincts in coverage will provide a valuable addition at safety – regardless of his ultimate role this season. Depth players such as Dewey McDonald, Colt Anderson and Winston Guy, along with any potential draft picks/undrafted free agents will likely be vying for backup/special teams roles. The Colts are approximately where they would like to be, pre-draft, in terms of safety depth.
Lowery does have some injury issues that the Colts must be cognizant of, however. Having ended the 2012 and 2013 seasons on Injured Reserve, the Colts must stay healthy along the last line of defense. Lowery has played in an average of 14.5 games per season, staying otherwise durable, outside of playing in only 12 games between the 2012-13 seasons.
Something can be said for a player “seeing the light” in his veteran seasons in the league. Adams came in and played remarkably last season after being seen as strictly a depth acquisition. That all-important leadership and having something to prove can be great seasonal motivators, greatly impacting performance.
Lowery’s ball skills and tackling prowess in combination with his drive and motivation to make a statement – could give the Colts a surprise safety tandem, pending any health issues. Lowery is a solid signing and with a good, veteran secondary around him, I look for him to have another very good season in 2015:
14 games; 65 tackles; 3 interceptions; 2 forced fumbles; 1 fumble recovery