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Colts Bolster Defensive Line Depth with Raekwon Davis Signing: Film Room

The Indianapolis Colts added a legit nose tackle behind Grover Stewart for the first time in two years.
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The Indianapolis Colts are officially on the board in free agency, signing veteran defensive tackle Raekwon Davis to a two years contract. Davis, 26, was a former second round selection by the Miami Dolphins and has played over 1,000 defensive snaps in his NFL career.

Colts' starting nose tackle Grover Stewart was suspended six games last season for PEDs and the team's run defense took a major hit in his absence. Stewart's backups, Eric Johnson and Taven Bryan, simply were not good enough to fill the massive void left by the suspension.

Even when Stewart was healthy last season, the backup defensive tackle play was below par at best. Bryan averaged nearly 20 snaps a game last year, and he was getting bullied on each and every snap that he lined up at 1-Tech defensive tackle. It was paramount for the Colts to add a legit nose tackle that can actually play the position, and Davis fits that definition perfectly.

Davis isn't a game-changer, but he is a player that is capable of holding down a rotational job on the defensive line. That alone is worth the contract he was given in free agency. Plus, this addition will allow the Colts to give DeForest Buckner some added rest on early downs without worrying about the defense corroding to dust in his absence.

Film Room

The Miami Dolphins are a 3-4 defense, so they sit in five man fronts more often than the Colts do. In these 3-4 looks, Davis often took the role of nose tackle, lining up as the shade technique over top of the center. With star players Zach Sieler and Christian Wilkins lined up alongside him, Davis faced a lot more single teams on the interior than most shade techniques would.

Still, as the nose tackle, Davis had to be ready to react against double teams on duo run calls. Unlike Bryan or Johnson in Indy last season, Davis is actually a capable player at breaking double teams and not giving up ground. He understands how to drop his anchor to hold his positioning, and his long arms help him deconstruct the weak link on the double team.

The Colts are almost exclusively a 4-3 defense, so there aren't a lot of run down looks where Davis will be 0-Tech in Indy. The Colts will mostly line Davis up as a 1-Tech (between the center and the guard) or a 2i-Tech (over the guard but shading inside).

Davis has experience being more than just a nose tackle and did spread out to these other techniques in the Dolphins' four man fronts. He isn't a phenomenal athlete like Stewart, but he has enough functional athleticism to work across the formation and act as backside help on plays run away from his side.

Davis is far from a perfect player on film. He's not particularly explosive and he doesn't have the flexibility or the fluidity that players like Buckner or Stewart naturally possesses. He is, however, a strong and imposing player that is plenty experienced in what the Colts need him to do.

That is really all that matters here. This signing doesn't break the bank by any means and it doesn't hinder the Colts' ability to spend the rest of free agency. What this signing does do is fix a gaping hole in the side of the defense. The backup defensive tackles on this team simply weren't good enough a year ago, and a player like Davis can come in a provide adequate depth behind the Colts' two stars at the top.

I really can't ask for much more out of a signing like this.

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