More consistent pressure needed by Colts’ defense in 2024

The Colts were among the best at generating sacks last season. Can they duplicate that success in 2024?

Last season, the 51 sacks that the Colts’ defense produced were the fifth-most in football. The Colts had four players, Samson Ebukam (9.5), Kwity Paye (8.5), DeForest Buckner (8.0), and Dayo Odeyingbo (8.0), all individually record at least eight sacks.

However, of note is that the Colts also finished the 2023 season ranked 22nd in pressure rate. In terms of total pressures, the Colts ranked 23rd.

So what does that mean? Well, a very high number of the pressures that the Colts created turned into sacks. Their sack rate of 8.2 percent was the eighth-highest mark. This formula – relatively low pressures coupled with high sacks – is something that just may not be repeatable in 2024.

Ideally, what teams want to see is consistent pressure, and oftentimes the sacks will usually follow. Finishing top 10 in both sacks and pressure rate is far more sustainable than finishing fifth and sacks and 22nd in pressure rate as the Colts did.

Out of 55 eligible edge rushers last season, Ebukam would rank 21st in pass rush win rate. However, Paye ranked 42nd, and Odeyingbo ranked 45th. Among interior defenders, Buckner was among the best in this category, ranking sixth.

In part, this inconsistency from the edge rusher group to create regular pressures is why pass rusher is a need for the Colts in this year’s draft.

Overall, this year’s edge rusher class isn’t as deep of a group as we’ve seen in previous drafts. PFF recently graded all 10 position groups and gave the edge defenders a B-, noting that there isn’t the volume of top-tier prospects available.

The edge rusher position is very much in play for the Colts when they are on the clock in round one. Potentially on the board at that point could be Florida State’s Jared Verse or UCLA’s Laiatu Latu.

Under defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the Colts blitzed at the lowest rate in football last season. This puts added pressure on the defensive front to win its one-on-one matchups in order to get after the quarterback with some sort of regularity.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire