The Indianapolis Colts made some noise on Tuesday night on the waiver wire as they claimed Buffalo Bills’ defensive tackle Kyle Peko off waivers and released defensive tackle Carl Davis. A former UDFA signing of the Denver Broncos, Peko has bounced around a little bit since entering the NFL in 2016. He is also the younger cousin of defensive tackle Domata Peko who played 12 seasons in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos.
In today’s quick film room, we will be looking at five plays of Peko’s film to see what he could possibly bring to this Colts’ team in 2019.
6’1” 305 pounds
12 tackles, 0 sacks, and 0 tackles for a loss in 11 total games played.
This first clip from Peko is his best play of the year as he showcases his best two traits on one play. He quickly explodes out of his stance and gets a good push on the right guard. After getting initial penetration, he then turns and chases the running back on the sweep play. He finishes the play by catching the running back in pursuit and lunging to make the tackle for a short gain. While other parts of his game need some work, he will always have his athleticism and effort which makes him an intriguing prospect moving forward.
Again, the quickness and athleticism are on display here. Peko is quick out of his stance and very sudden in his movements. He is able to quickly separate himself from the block of the left guard on this play. He is able to keep his backside contain as a result, and forces the running back to have to continue to the right side instead of finding the cutback lane. The result is a tackle for a loss on the play for the defense.
The effort that Peko shows from play to play is outstanding, as he is constantly seen pursuing plays down the field and grinding through multiple blocks to make plays. Here is a good example of that second point. Peko is engaged with the left guard before taking a shot from the pulling right guard on the play. He doesn’t lose his balance, though, as he continues to plug space and try to locate the ball. He spins off the block, plants his foot quickly, and gets the half tackle on the play. While you would like him to be a bit stronger against the pulling block, the effort to locate the ball in the trenches and get involved in the tackle is admirable.
While Peko's effort and energy are strengths of his game, almost everything else is a work in progress. Take this next play for example. He is quick enough to beat Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson to the hole, but lacks the strength and hand usage to break free of the block to make the tackle. While the burst off the line is good, an NFL defensive lineman has to have more strength than this and be able to rip through this block when he has the leverage advantage. Instead, he gets manhandled after initially gaining ground and ends up being pancaked on the ground.
Peko's run defense and strength need a lot of work. He struggles to eat up space on many plays inside and gets manhandled way too easily by linemen. He loses contain of his gap on many occasions and can easily be taken out of plays. Also, while not being shown in this film room, he lacks any plan of attack when rushing the passer. It is often just a bull rush that rarely gains any ground or traction due to his lack of strength and size. While he has great athleticism and effort, he is very much a work in progress in many areas.
Kyle Peko is a decent addition for Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts. He has an excellent motor and his natural athleticism and leverage show on most plays. He is a grinder, much like this Colts team, and is a good bottom of the roster player. He has a lot to work on overall, but his baseline traits make him a roster-able player.
Overall, he is a great story and a hard worker which very much fits what Ballard looks for in his players. He also dominated the Colts in the preseason which is likely another reason he ended up being claimed. He doesn’t move the needle much and likely won’t play too much on Sundays, but is decent depth if called upon as he fits the scheme and mentality of this defense.