Colts defensive line ranked 11th in NFL

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The Indianapolis Colts defensive line was ranked as the 11th-best unit in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.

Placing teams into different tiers, the Colts found themselves in Tier 2, which was labeled “Strong with a weak point or two” by PFF. In total, there were six teams in that tier

Indianapolis is going to rely on its front four to generate pressure in Gus Bradley’s new scheme, as no defense blitzed less than Bradley’s Chargers when he was defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2020 (16%), and the same was true for the Las Vegas Raiders under Bradley last season (11%).

The Colts have the players up front to get pressure with four rushers, especially after Yannick Ngakoue’s reunion with Bradley in Indianapolis. DeForest Buckner ranks fourth among interior defensive linemen in combined sacks and quarterback hits (45) since joining the Colts in 2020, and 2021 first-round pick Kwity Paye is looking for a breakout second season as the favorite for the LEO role in Bradley’s defense.

It’s more likely that Ngakoue will play more of the LEO role rather than Paye, who is expected to work more as the left end/big end in Bradley’s aggressive front.

While we shouldn’t expect a high blitzing rate from the Colts under Bradley’s command, we can expect them to get after the quarterback. The Raiders had the fourth-most quarterback hits during the 2021 season despite only having two more sacks than the Colts.

Much of the success of the pass rush will come from the development of Paye and fellow second-year defensive lineman Dayo Odeyingbo. Having Buckner and Ngakoue will help in a great way, but the two young pass rushers can make this unit special.

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