Pro Football Focus (PFF) is grading and ranking the various units across the NFL. They place a numeric grade on each of the teams, while placing them in tiers to group units together that are closer than their numerical ranking might suggest.
For the Indianapolis Colts, PFF places the defensive line in the second tier of "Strong with a weak point or two", just below the Elite tier, while ranking the Colts 11th in the NFL.
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. - PFF
Buckner has been to the Pro Bowl three of the last four seasons and was All-Pro in 2020. Ngakoue had 10 sacks in 2021, and Paye was voted to PFF's All-Rookie team last season.
It's arguable whether the Colts belong in the "Elite" tier of PFF's rankings, but at No. 11, it looks like PFF is sleeping on the Indianapolis defensive line.
PFF's Top 11 Defensive Line
- Tier 1 - Elite
1. LA Rams
2. Washington Commanders
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. San Francisco 49ers
- Tier 2 - Strong with a weak point or two
7. LA Chargers
8. New Orleans Saints
9. Philadelphia Eagles
10. Tennessee Titans
11. Indianapolis Colts