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Colts 2016 player preview: Outside linebacker Erik Walden

Divisional Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts will report to training camp on July 26 (TODAY!) with their 90-man roster, which will be cut down to 53 players by the end of the preseason. To pass the time until camp, we’re taking a look at every player on the Colts’ 90-man roster. Today, we’re looking at outside linebacker Erik Walden.

Who is he?

Erik Walden has been a three-year starter for the Colts since signing as a free agent in 2013, as he has played in 45 games and started 44 of them. During those three years, he has recorded 124 tackles, 12 sacks, three passes defensed, and three forced fumbles. His job hasn’t been as glamorous as some of the pass rushers and hasn’t been nearly as discussed, but he has done a reliable job of defending against the run and has done surprisingly well against the pass too – his 12 sacks in three seasons with the Colts is more than he had in five seasons previously (with the Vikings and Packers combined he had nine). Walden isn’t a standout or a star, but he’s a solid starter.

What is his role?

Walden’s role as the strongside outside linebacker is secure – if for no other reason than that there’s really no one to compete for the spot. The Colts are incredibly thin at outside linebacker as it is, and much of their emphasis there is about finding pass rushers. That leaves Walden alone at the spot, and while there will certainly be players slotted behind him on the depth chart (we don’t yet know who), Walden’s role as the starter is safe for another season.

What are his chances?

He’ll be the starting strongside linebacker for a fourth consecutive year.