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With Upgrades Made at Premium Spots, Colts Better Positioned To Compete for AFC South Title in 2022

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

From 1-4 to 9-6 and atop the AFC playoff picture. That’s where the Indianapolis Colts stood with two weeks left in the 2021 regular season before the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars played spoiler to Indy’s promising season.

The Colts, left in utter disbelief, had no one to blame but themselves. After taking some time to self-reflect on such a poor end to their season, the organization and its top three decision-makers realized that changes had to be made.

Those changes started when Indy decided to cut ties with QB Carson Wentz after trading him to the Washington Commanders for a swap of second-round picks and two additional third-round picks.

The Colts then addressed pass rush by trading away cornerback Rock Ya-Sin for Raiders’ defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. At just 27-years-old, Ngakoue brings 55.5 career sacks with him, providing a major boost to Indy’s pass rush.

Just a few weeks later, the Colts used one of their extra third-round picks in the Wentz deal in trading for former MVP QB Matt Ryan, whose leadership qualities and on-field accolades speak for themselves in his 14 years with the Falcons.

“I think Ryan gives the Colts a better chance to stay competitive in the AFC than most other quarterbacks they could have acquired this offseason,” said Jeanna Thomas, a columnist for SBNation’s The Falcoholic, who covered Ryan during his time in Atlanta for 12 years.

“I feel like Ryan can beat anyone with adequate pass protection and a strong running game, which he should have in Indianapolis. Ryan has also very rarely had a competent defense in his career, and Indy has that, too,” Thomas said.

The Colts also made sure to re-sign a few key pieces on both sides of the ball in linebacker and special team captain Zaire Franklin, tackle Matt Pryor, tight end Mo Alie-Cox and defensive end Tyquan Lewis.

Indy also signed cornerback Brandon Facyson, who will likely come in and compete for a starting spot with Ya-Sin no longer on the roster.

There’s no question the Colts are still in need of more help, specifically at wideout and with depth along the offensive line and in the secondary. With the 2022 NFL Draft just around the corner and seven picks in their back pocket, Indy could turn to a loaded class to help bolster their roster at positions of need.

To some, the moves Indy has made thus far may not be considered ‘splashy.’ But more moves will come in April, and upgrades at two premium positions in QB and DE is an excellent start and gives the Colts a much better shot at competing for an AFC South division title, something they haven’t accomplished since 2014.