As we continue with our outlook on the Indianapolis Colts roster heading into the offseason, we now jump over to the defensive side of the ball.
The Colts’ defense definitely turned some heads in 2018 despite a first-year defensive coordinator and so many young pieces contributing throughout the year. Today we focus on the defensive line, a group that had some great performances this year, but also needs an infusion of talent just the same.
Margus Hunt and Jihad Ward, two guys at opposite ends of their career, could be said to headline the Colts’ free agent group, along with Al Woods. Hunt has continued to be productive despite his being undersold before signing with the Colts and doing it in two different defensive systems. His age, and what Ballard sees as his legitimate expected production to be in 2019 will play a huge role in whether he is brought back or not.
Woods, who like Hunt is 32 right now, but as a sort of a one-trick pony against the run game, his future with the Colts may be in doubt, but Ballard has been known to throw out some surprises. Ward, on the other hand, presents youth, solid production with limited experience as well as the versatility the team is hoping to acquire to build around this up-and-coming defense.
Amongst the rest along the line, it’s fun to think of Kemoko Turay, Tyquan Lewis, Al-Qadin Muhammad all developing into a solid rotation of young talent, while the team still has the services of Jabaal Sheard and Denico Autry on the roster. Grover Stewart and Hassan Ridgeway were basically designated run defenders, but they too are young and you can see that only a move here, or a move there this offseason could give the unit a monster boost for the 2019 season.
There is a very interesting group of NFL free agents along the defensive line who are looking to be available, and a draft class that offers plenty of intrigue as well. How it all shakes out will be extremely interesting to watch as this unit could provide a ton of change for the Colts between now and training camp.
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