According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on ‘Good Morning Football’, the Indianapolis Colts will have ‘the league’s most dominant defensive unit in 2022’:
“I’m a little worried about Darius Leonard, he’s got the back and the ankle,” Garafolo said on GMFB. “I didn’t realize the back bone was connected to the ankle bone, thank you very much. So that’s a little worrisome.”
“. . . But I also think some of the teams I was looking at for potential best defense play in a really tough division. They have a lot of tough games, so I think the Colts, they’re playing in that division, things are going to be a little easier, a little smoother path to the top statistically for them. But you’ve got Stephon Gilmore, you got the makings of a [dominant unit]. . .”
Garafolo mentioned that he is worried about Colts All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard’s offseason back surgery, but still likes the additions of veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore (and presumably pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue)—as well as a relatively weak AFC South to feast upon defensively for Indianapolis (although after last season’s disastrous regular season finale, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves).
Obviously, Leonard making a fully recovery is a big question mark for the Colts, although the early post-surgery returns appear encouraging. However, if ‘the Maniac is the Maniac again,’ then there’s no real reason this Indy defense can’t ascend into consistently a Top 5 unit in the sport (after a few recent seasons of flirting with such a notion).
Not only will the veteran pair of Gilmore and Ngakoue significantly upgrade the Colts pass rush and secondary collectively, but the Colts have some young intriguing names to watch for possible breakouts—including Kwity Paye, Dayo Odeyingbo, Isaiah Rodgers, and rookie Nick Cross key among them.
With veteran play caller Gus Bradley now calling the defensive sideline shots, the Colts defense figures to be at least more versatile up front—and poised for potential dominance in 2022, especially with their offseason upgrades for a unit that already had Leonard, DeForest Buckner, and Kenny Moore II anchoring its core.