The Indianapolis Colts announced the signing of former Oakland Raiders defensive lineman, Denico Autry, yesterday. The 27-year-old cashed in with a three-year, $17.8 million contract with $6.5 million of that being guaranteed.
This is essentially a one-year contract with team options for both Years 2 and 3, equating to a team-friendly deal for a seemingly productive young player.
But what are people saying about Autry?
Autry found his way to the NFL after attending East Mississippi Community College (otherwise known as Last Chance U) and Mississippi State. He went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft and was signed by the Raiders, playing in 10 games his rookie season.
Even just from looking at his path to the NFL through a computer screen, it’s apparent that Autry is a big proponent of fighting when the odds are against him.
That sentiment only grows larger when you hear his former defensive line coach in Oakland say that “he has the heart of a lion.”
The love for Autry is also prevalent amongst some of his teammates, such as his former running mate Mario Edwards; “It’s kind of one of those guys (Autry) that just brings their lunch pail to work every day; don’t ask any questions, whatever you need to get done, it gets done.”
That lunch pail reference would make Chuck Pagano blush.
Clearly, Autry is well-respected amongst his peers and superiors, which is of notable importance to the Chris Ballard-era of team building.
Even still, personality is only a piece of the puzzle and Autry’s on-field play is what really matters to the organization at the end of the day.
By all accounts, Raiders fans were keen on keeping Autry, but for the right price.
In 2017, he was third on the Raiders with 5.0 sacks (behind only Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin), to go along with his 7 pass deflections and was one of the bigger contributors on the defensive line, even without being a full-time starter.
Autry lines up all over the line and is effective from each spot. He is not particularly known to be a finisher but is able to shoot gaps and disrupt the pocket and blow up the run game as well, as evidenced by the following:
If the Raiders resign him again, no DL will benefit from the new single gap scheme like Autry will. pic.twitter.com/e4YLQazcSO— Chris Reed (@LVRaidersreview) January 30, 2018
Autry's sack numbers would really improve under Guenther, if the team resigns him. pic.twitter.com/C5USQQ7zvk— Chris Reed (@LVRaidersreview) February 1, 2018
Autry fits in with what new Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is most likely going to run in Indianapolis. Autry is 6-5, 270 pounds and though that may be small for an interior lineman, he fits the bill as a chess piece in a one-gap scheme.
Whether he lines up as the big defensive end on base downs and/or as an inside rusher on pass downs, he will have the opportunity to showcase his talents.
Still, I’m sure you are wondering what to call him positionally. Well, both Bleacher Report’s 1000 series and Pro Football Focus have him listed as an inside defender.
PFF has him listed as the 56th ranked interior lineman (31st in pass rushing), while B/R has him at number 21.
That 21st ranking puts Autry above players such as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, Marcell Dareus and Sheldon Rankins – that’s a relatively impressive list of names.
Overall, it seems that Autry is a hard-nosed player that is starting to tip-toe closer to reaching his potential. He seemingly found the right scheme and hopefully, the right coordinator, to help him receive that final push that will plunge him into the most talented version of Denico Autry that there can possibly be.
If that doesn’t work out, the contract given to him is extremely team-friendly and Ballard will be able to cut him loose after one season. It’s hard to see how this isn’t a win-win situation for The Horseshoe.
If you are looking for more on Autry while we twiddle our thumbs ‘till the next signing, I have provided some articles and videos below. Enjoy!
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