With the NFL Draft fast approaching, analysts are starting to piece together team fits for different prospects in the process. Recently, The Draft Network named the Indianapolis Colts named as one of the best four fits for Pittsburgh defensive tackle, Calijah Kancey. What does he bring to the table and how could Kancey fit in Indianapolis?
Strengths: Kancey may be a bit undersized for a defensive tackle, but his athleticism is unmatched. He has the ability to virtually jump from gap to gap and almost teleports into the backfield. PFF credited Kancey with eight sacks, nine quarterback hits, and 47 total pressures in 2022, the seventh most by a interior defensive lineman in FBS.
But he doesn’t just win with his speed and agility, the Pittsburgh Panther throws some power into his punch. Even as an undersized interior lineman, he can hold his ground and occasionally flashes in the run game.
Calijah Kancey is going to be a PROBLEM— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) February 21, 2023
Kancey is currently projected to be a first round pick.
Kancey would be the first Pitt DT selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since Aaron Donald. pic.twitter.com/ZjodrFl7ex
Weaknesses: As previously mentioned, his height and weight will come into question. In the NFL, he will experience stronger lineman and more double teams than he faced in the ACC. His size may hurt him more in the run-game as leverage plays an important factor. His tackling also comes into question, as PFF charted six missed tackles, 20.7% of his tackling opportunities in 2022.
Fit in Indianapolis
Because of his size, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley would be able to deploy Kancey across the defensive line in order to scheme up one-on-one opportunities. With Deforest Buckner and Grover Stewart on the roster, Kancey would be used primarily in sub-packages as a true pass rusher. He probably would not see many early down opportunities in his first couple of years in the league, but with more time in an NFL strength and conditioning program, Kancey could become a full-time menace in the trenches.
The Colts have lacked a good pass rush since the glory days of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. And drafting Kancey could be the final piece of the puzzle to bring that juice back to Indy. Not many teams would be successful against a front with Kwity Paye, Buckner, Stewart, Kancey, and Dayo Odeyingbo.