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2024 Colts: “You Can’t Ask For A Better Defensive Line”

The defense line, which is the biggest strength for the Indianapolis Colts, could help power the team to the playoffs in 2024.
Colts defensive line

With Anthony Richardson returning, the Indianapolis Colts offense should be dangerous this upcoming season. However, the defensive line is arguably the team’s biggest strength. Andrew Aziz of Stampede Blue wrote about the unit and the addition of rookie Laiatu Latu:

“You can’t ask for a better defensive line than the Colts. Of course there are teams with superstar edge rushers that can get 20 sacks in a season, but this group was 5th in the NFL last season with 51 sacks and the addition of Latu only makes them stronger.”

2024 Colts Defense: “You Can’t Ask For a Better Defensive Line.”

Laiatu Latu Strengthens Defensive End Room

As Aziz mentioned, the Colts were fifth in the league in sacks last season with 51. It was the most since the franchise moved to Indianapolis back in 1984. Samson Ebukam, Kwity Paye, DeForest Buckner, and Dayo Odeyingbo each recorded at least eight. Ebukam led the way with a career-high 9.5. While the Colts racked up a bunch of sacks, their pressure rate was only 19.6 percent.

Latu can help with that. Indianapolis selected the defensive end out of UCLA with the 15th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. He can serve as a threat on the outside who can anchor Indy’s pass rush.

Latu suffered a neck injury at Washington, which forced him to miss two seasons. Fortunately, he has stayed healthy for the past two years. If he continues to avoid the injury bug, Latu could emerge as an elite pass-rusher in the not-so-distant future.

Ebukam and Paye, who had a career-best 8.5  sacks last season, will be the starting defensive ends. Meanwhile, quality players like Latu, Odeyingbo, and Tyquan Lewis will hold backup roles.

Grover Stewart, DeForest Buckner, and the Defensive Tackle Unit

One of the Colts’ biggest priorities this offseason was bringing back Grover Stewart. General manager Chris Ballard got the job done, re-signing the defensive tackle to a three-year, $39 million deal.

The Colts missed Stewart during his six-game PED suspension last season. When he was in the lineup for the first six weeks, Indy’s defense allowed 3.7 yards per carry and 2.24 yards per rush before contact. During his suspension, the Colts allowed 4.9 yards per carry and 3.14 yards per rush before contact.

Stewart and Buckner are one of the league’s top defensive tackle duos and show no signs of slowing down. Stewart is a great run-stopper, while Buckner provides the team with pass-rushing.

Buckner is perhaps the Colts’ best defensive player. Since joining the team in 2020, he has been named a First-Team All-Pro once and made the Pro Bowl twice. He is a leader on the field and in the locker room.

Raekwon Davis, who was signed this offseason, will give Stewart and Buckner a breather. Other DT backups include Taven Bryan and second-year player Adetomiwa Adebawore. Jonah Laulu, drafted in the seventh round this year, could earn a spot on the roster if he has an impressive training camp.

The Colts haven’t made the playoffs since 2020. If the defensive line continues to play great, the secondary improves, and the Richardson-led offense comes through, they can reach the postseason in 2024.

Main Image: Robert Scheer – USA Today Sports


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