If you read the Stampede Blue draft profiles of the players picked up in day two of the 2018 NFL Draft for the Colts you’ll notice there is something of a trend among them. Quick. Strong. Violent. Words that have not exactly been the norm for the Colts in recent memory.
They are certainly true of Kemoko Turay. 6’5” and 253lbs, this Edge player out of Rutgers has the physical traits to be a solid contributor as a defensive end and if he can string together some quality pass rush moves, could be absolutely dangerous in sub packages being used to get after the quarterback. One of my own personal litmus tests of a player is whether or not they can tackle well, and that is a strength of Turay’s game and has been a weakness of the Colts’ defense in years past.
One of Turay’s biggest struggles was finishing his pass rush. He’ll be matched up with one of the best in Colts’ history, Robert Mathis, who will be happy to share his wealth of knowledge and open his bag of tricks. If Turay can continue to be an excellent edge setter and strong tackler, he will likely contribute early on as a rotational player, which will help keep the defense fresh and attacking.
By moving up to take Tyquan Lewis, Chris Ballard made a statement that should be loud and clear for Colts fans. He means what he says. When he got here, he talked about winning in the trenches. That is exactly what he set out to do with this draft. By adding Lewis as yet another Edge rusher, he has further strengthened the front seven of a Colts team that has been hurting for talent.
At 6’3” 265lbs, Lewis is a big, strong player with a great first step. He has the ability to play at a few different places along the defensive line and uses his upper body strength well to out-leverage offensive linemen. Lewis is not a standout athlete, but is an effort player, and has had success inside as a gap-disruptor who can push the pocket.
With both of these players, we are seeing a theme that is true of several of the best teams in the NFL, including the Eagles. The ability to build a deep and sustainable line on both sides of the ball is critical to success. While these are not the sexiest picks at times, they are also the ones that can keep the Colts relevant when injuries occur. One thing is sure though, the defensive line room is a bit crowded after tonight, which means we are likely to see some tough choices made in August and September.