In a surprising turn of events, the Indianapolis Colts selected another edge, this time Vanderbilt defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo with the 54th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft:
Getting even nastier on the edge.— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) May 1, 2021
Welcome to Indy, @dodeyingbo! pic.twitter.com/LUdWiDlVYn
The 6’5”, 276 pound defensive end (with long 35 1/4” arms) recorded 32 tackles (15 solo), 8.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and a pass defensed during 8 starts—earning First-Team All-SEC honors for the Commodores.
Unfortunately, Odeyingbo suffered a torn Achilles ahead of the Senior Bowl while preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft—which could limit his pro football activity until the fall:
The #Colts select Vanderbilt’s DE Dayo Odeyingbo, who is coming off a torn Achilles. He’ll be cleared in August return to play late September/October. Plenty of teams had first round grades if healthy.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 1, 2021
That being said, the Colts saw firsthand the power of rehabilitation, willpower, and modern medicine/science, when rookie safety Julian Blackmon debuted in Week 2 of last season—despite suffering a torn ACL the prior December collegiately.
While it shouldn’t be expected, it’s possible that Odeyingbo could make a rookie impact earlier than anticipated—although a September/October return timetable isn’t all that late anyways.
Here’s his scouting report from ESPN.com:
“Odeyingbo is a versatile defensive lineman who sets the edge when he lines up on the outside and is strong enough to compete at defensive tackle when he keeps his pads down. He has the length, quickness, power and motor to develop into an effective interior pass-rusher. Odeyingbo tore his Achilles days before the Senior Bowl in January. — Steve Muench”
Here’s what else they’re saying:
Dayo Odeyingbo was a Round 2 player for me off tape. unfortunately tore his Achilles in training. Really good player though.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) May 1, 2021
Forgotten man in 2021 draft is @VandyFootball DT Dayo Odeyingbo. Tore Achilles days before Senior Bowl and still think @dodeyingbo doesn’t get out of Round 2. Unique tools (6051v, 285v, 35 1/4 arm, 86 3/8 wing) & highest ceiling DT in class. Checkout the get-off and coordination. pic.twitter.com/btPwlZQYlk— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) April 11, 2021
I love this Colts roster/personality - in particular the defense... They have a type and it’s physical/no-nonsense!— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) May 1, 2021
Now adding Kwity Paye/Dayo Odeyingbo
I truly feel Odeyingo would’ve been 1st rounder without Achilles injury - would’ve dominated Senior Bowl week@dsleon45
#Vanderbilt EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo has lots of juice from lots of alignments. At 6-6, 275, he has the versatility, strength and explosiveness to play in an odd or even front. His game doesn’t have an off switch.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) December 8, 2020
( : @BenFennell_NFL)pic.twitter.com/pJfgsgPcV5
Dayo Odeyingbo (@dodeyingbo) is one of the most interesting players in #2021NFLDraft— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 18, 2020
6'5 279lbs w/ nearly 36" arms. Listed as a DE - but lines up at 0T or 3T in subpackage fronts
Nuggets in Report: Long, Strong, Explosive, Active, Versatile, Counter Moves, Disrupt Pass Lanes https://t.co/5FS2gpq9Vh pic.twitter.com/XCVxzXHWyt
Dayo Odeyingbo = consistently impressive watching other OL. I think he's a stud. Hope he can return to 100% from the torn Achilles.— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) April 16, 2021
To me, Odeyingbo looks like he’s similar to the Denico Autry mold as a power defensive end, who can kick inside on obvious passing downs. He has valuable defensive line versatility.
It looks like if not for the serious injury, he may have been a first round pick and not even available for the Colts in the second round. However, he still has to make a full recovery from an injury that can sometimes be explosion sapping for football players long-term.
That being said, the Colts clearly felt the risk was worth the reward here and are making major moves to shore up their previously depleted edge group with some major young ‘dudes’—regarding both first rounder Kwity Paye and now Odeyingbo.
The pick was surprising because there had been little to no noise on Odeyingbo given his injury and because the Colts had just taken an edge in Paye.
Digging further though, it’s easy to see that this was a First-Team All-SEC caliber defensive lineman, and the Colts are taking advantage of his unfortunate injury draft stock-wise—believing that he can fully regain his prior form in time (i.e., their medical staff must be comfortable too).
Given that all of the ‘Tier 2’ offensive tackles were already off the board, and the Colts were going to have to shift gears regardless on another position—Odeyingbo makes sense.
It just happened to be on another talented defensive line prospect because Colts general manager Chris Ballard loves reinforcing those trenches whenever he can.