What draft experts said about Colts 5th-round pick S/LB Jaylon Carlies

With their second selection in the fifth-round, the Colts selected Missouri’s Jaylon Carlies, who is listed as a safety but as linebacker size.

Carlies measures in at just under 6-3 and weighs 227 pounds. He posted a Relative Athletic Score of 8.26, which included a 4.5-second 40-yard dash.

Carlies played 1,345 snaps as a free safety at Missouri but has ample experience playing closer to the line of scrimmage in the box and some slot experience as well. Last season, he forced three pass breakups and came away with two interceptions in coverage.

Carlies can make an instant impact on special teams, and defensively, could fill a role similar to that of Ronnie Harrison, who is only under contract through the 2024 season.

He will be at his best in the NFL playing closer to the line of scrimmage, perhaps as a linebacker when the Colts utilize big nickel personnel, but he has the athleticism to play in space when needed.

For a closer look at Carlies and what he brings to the Colts, here are what a few draft experts had to say about him in their pre-draft reports:


“Carlies likely needs to make the transition from safety to linebacker to have an opportunity in the NFL. He’s very tight in his hips and plays with a debilitating lack of change of direction that causes problems for him in coverage and as an open-field tackler. As a linear mover, he needs to be able to play forward and near the line, where he’s less likely to make mistakes with his angles of pursuit. Carlies has pretty good ball skills but will have a hard time sticking with pass-catching tight ends, so it could be challenging for teams to lock in on a role for him.”

Ian Cummings Pro Football Network

“Carlies’ combination of explosiveness, length, play strength, and physicality makes him a dangerous threat in the box, with teeth-rattling solo tackles coming downhill on tape. But Carlies also has the versatility to play overhang slot, two-high, or even single-high. He has enough explosiveness and speed, paired with his size, to play just about anywhere. He’s flashed the necessary processing and feel for positioning to move across the board, and as a former WR, has the ball skills to convert when he’s in place to make a play. Carlies needs to keep refining his game as a processor and be more consistent with his angles. He must also keep chipping away at his technique, to more efficiently carry his taller frame in space. In the meantime, he shouldn’t play man coverage too often. But projecting into the future, Carlies has the tools to be a superb box safety, with enhanced versatility and numerous coverage capabilities beyond that.”

Greg Cosell33rd Football Team

“In an NFL where big nickel is becoming more prevalent, Carlies’ physical and athletic traits profile may well fit that personnel package (think: Dan Quinn with his heavy emphasis on big nickel with the Dallas Cowboys and now as the head coach of the Washington Commanders). I believe Carlies can play a more conventional safety position, especially for defenses whose foundational structure is quarters (think: the way Brandon Jones was deployed with the Miami Dolphins in 2021 and 2022 or how Kam Curl was deployed with the Commanders in recent years).”

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire