In our countdown of the most important players to the Indianapolis Colts in 2015, defensive lineman Arthur Jones checked in at number four. Of all the defensive linemen on the roster, it is Jones who stands to have the biggest impact and the most importance to the team.
The Colts signed Jones to a 5-year, $33 million deal last offseason, bringing the run-stopper to Indianapolis. He was initially a fifth round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2010, and he spent the first seasons of his career with the Ravens. He played in 55 games in Baltimore (starting 20) and recorded 120 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. The bulk of his production in Baltimore came over his final two seasons (2012-2013), when he played in 30 games, starting 19, and racked up 100 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. He made a reputation for himself as a run defender, and he fits in nicely in Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense. Those are the reasons that the Colts signed him, but in 2014 his season was hampered by injury. He suffered an ankle injury in the team's week two loss to the Eagles and missed seven of the next eight games, and even when he did return to the field he wasn't as effective and was still working on getting back to full strength. He ended up playing in 12 games and making six starts (including playoffs), notching 34 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.
Entering 2015, however, Jones almost feels like a new addition. Because much of his first season with the Colts was focused on recovering from injury, he wasn't able to have the impact on the run defense that many hoped he would. So the key for him this year is to stay healthy, and if he can do that he should help the run defense to improve. It has been one of the biggest areas of weakness for the team over the past few years and there are still questions about it entering the 2015 season, but without a doubt the return of a healthy Art Jones should make a significant difference in the run defense.