Updating the Colts’ depth chart on defense after 2022 draft

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The Indianapolis Colts are expecting the defensive side of the ball to make a tier jump in 2022 after making some big additions during free agency and the NFL draft.

Adding defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders gives the Colts another talented pass rusher to work with opposite second-year edge Kwity Paye.

The Colts also added cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the secondary on a two-year deal, giving them a talented veteran presence in a pretty young group.

Then the Colts traded up in the third round of the draft to take safety Nick Cross while adding a pair of defensive tackles to compete for depth roles in 2022.

As of this writing, the Colts have yet to announce their group of undrafted rookie free agent signings, but that crop is likely to have a lot of defensive players on it. We will include some of the bigger names on that list on the depth chart even because they could have a role in impacting the roster throughout the spring and summer practices.

We also took a look at the offensive side of the ball earlier.

Following the draft, here’s a quick look at the updated depth chart on defense for the Colts:

Defensive End

Pos.

First

Second

Third

Fourth

DE

Kwity Paye

Tyquan Lewis

Kameron Cline

Cullen Wick

DE

Yannick Ngakoue

Ben Banogu

Scott Patchan

Analysis

It will be interesting to see how the Colts implement their edge rushers. There is some talk that both edges will be used in more of a wide-9 technique, which means their jobs will solely be on rushing the passer and getting upfield as quickly as possible. The starters will be Paye and Ngakoue while Lewis and Banogu should see more work as well. The Colts are also likely to work Dayo Odeyingbo on the edge at times.

Interior Defensive Line

Pos.

First

Second

Third

Fourth

1-Tech

Grover Stewart

Eric Johnson

Chris Williams

3-Tech

DeForest Buckner

Dayo Odeyingbo

Curtis Brooks

R.J. McIntosh
McKinley Williams

Analysis

Buckner and Stewart are the starters while Odeyinbgo will be used on the interior as well. Rookies Johnson and Brooks will rotate between the one and three-technique spots while the other three are battling for a roster spot.

Linebacker

Pos.

First

Second

Third

WILL

Darius Leonard

E.J. Speed

Jordan Glasgow

MIKE

Bobby Okereke

Malik Jefferson

SAM

Zaire Franklin

Brandon King

Jojo Domann
Forrest Rhyne

Analysis

Not much has changed here. Leonard and Okereke will continue to take the majority of snaps while Franklin works in rotation as the SAM. King was brought in during free agency but is likely to work mostly on special teams. Domann is an undrafted rookie but one of the highly rated ones so he will be someone to keep an eye on.

Cornerback

Pos.

First

Second

Third

Fourth

CB

Stephon Gilmore

Rodney Thomas II

Marvell Tell III

Chris Wilcox

Slot

Kenny Moore II

Alexander Myres

CB

Brandon Facyson

Isaiah Rodgers

Will Redmond

Dallis Flowers

Analysis

Gilmore and Moore II are likely to be the starters when only two cornerbacks are on the field. Facyson and Rodgers will compete for the other starting role. Thomas II was a seventh-round pick and while that doesn’t guarantee a roster spot, he’s a great athlete. Flowers is an intriguing UDFA to keep an eye on while the rest of the room competes for the final spot with Thomas and Flowers.

Safety

Pos.

First

Second

Third

SS

Khari Willis

Nick Cross

Sterling Weatherford
Trevor Denbow

FS

Julian Blackmon

Rodney McLeod

Armani Watts

Analysis

Willis and Blackmon will be the starters assuming the latter doesn’t have any setbacks with his Achilles rehab. The Colts added McLeod and Watts in free agency. Watts is likely going to spend most his time on special teams like George Odum did. Cross may not be a major player right now, but his upside is extremely high as a potential starter in the future. Weatherford is an interesting UDFA given his size and athleticism. He could also play the SAM role.

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