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Colts Should Kick the Tires on Ex-Bucs DT Gerald McCoy

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

According to the Tampa Bay Times Rick Stroud (and later verified by ESPN’s Adam Schefter), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are releasing longtime defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, which begs the question of whether the Indianapolis Colts should be potentially interested:

Originally the 3rd overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers, McCoy went on to become the ‘face of their franchise’, as a 3x First-Team All-Pro, 1x 2nd-Team All-Pro, and 6x Pro Bowler—absolutely living up to high draft billing.

The former Bucs team captain was the second longest tenured player in Tampa Bay team history and an active presence in the community off-the-field.

While the 31 year old McCoy isn’t what he once was, he could still help a contending team such as the Colts as a veteran impact starter—and remains one of the better defensive tackles in all of football.

The 6’4”, 300 pound defensive tackle is coming off a season for the Bucs, in which he recorded 28 tackles, 6.0 sacks, and a pass defensed in 14 starts.

Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), McCoy received a +78.6 grade overall, which ranked 31st among qualifying interior defenders.

The 10-year veteran is a natural as a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 base defense, where he can showcase his disruption as a pass rusher—meaning he’d be a fit in Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ scheme—which also features, well, disruption.

From a familiarity standpoint, Colts defensive line coach Mike Phair also previously served as the Bucs defensive line coach in 2014 under former Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smiths Cover 2 defensive scheme, so he should know McCoy all too well—and by the same token, McCoy has a general feel for Eberflus’ scheme already.

Of course, the Colts last addition of a former star Bucs defensive tackle worked out very well in 2006, when the team traded for veteran Booger McFarland en route to winning their first Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

While the current Colts don’t necessarily have a dire need at defensive tackle right now, the team still hasn’t found a true replacement for departed veteran Al Woods and could use another proven player to platoon with Margus Hunt and Grover Stewart in their defensive line rotation at nose tackle.

McCoy doesn’t offer the same enormous size as say the 333 pound Stewart, but on the other hand, he could theoretically provide the Colts with more of a pass rushing presence from the interior situationally and is an overall, well-rounded defensive tackle—even if he’s not a natural nose tackle.

The Colts somewhat surprisingly did not address the interior of their defensive line in this year’s NFL Draft, so adding a known commodity such as McCoy on a 1-year deal could help fortify their unit in the trenches for the immediate future.

Having already signed pass rusher Justin Houston earlier this offseason, McCoy could be another solid veteran addition to the Colts front seven—and show that the franchise is absolutely serious about hoisting the elusive Lombardi Trophy at season’s end.