Pro Football Focus has been ranking specific aspects of each NFL team as we inch closer to the regular season.
Indianapolis did not rank as favorably in PFF’s run defense projections as they were projected to be the NFL’s fourth-worst run defense next season.
Stuffing the run was actually a strength for the Colts last season as they ranked 10th in Football Outsiders’ run defense metric in 2017. However, PFF cites that cutting Johnathan Hankins was a big loss for Indianapolis because of his 90.0 run defense grade last season.
The Colts still have a few solid run defenders along the defensive line. Jabaal Sheard had a run defense grade of 90.0, Al Woods’ run defense grade was 87.1, and Margus Hunt had a strong year with a run defense grade of 84.7.
The real issue with Indianapolis’ run defense heading into 2018 is the lack of talent at linebacker.
The Colts really don’t have any established players in their linebacking corps. And while some of their young linebackers have exciting potential, it’s tough to see Indianapolis being above-average at that position next season.
The defensive end spot on the opposite side of Jabaal Sheard is also a question mark. If Tarell Basham doesn’t show massive improvement in year two, that side of the line could be a weakness that opposing offenses will look to exploit next season.
I might rank the Colts’ run defense above some of the teams ahead of them on this list based on Indianapolis’ talent along the defensive line, but that void at linebacker could hurt them in the run game next season.