Expectations are high for the Indianapolis Colts defensive line in 2022.
The team traded for edge defender Yannick Ngakoue this offseason, who has been one of the most consistent pass rushers in the NFL over the last six years, but it's their younger prospects who really make things intriguing.
The Colts spent their first two draft picks last year on edge defenders Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo, and Ben Banogu and Chris Williams were studs last summer during training camp. Now, the group has sought the tutelage of the franchise's all-time leading pass rusher, Robert Mathis, to improve their game.
Below are some of the video clips that Mathis posted to his Instagram of the group training with him.
Mathis, who was inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor last year, totaled 123.0 sacks in his career, and his 54 forced fumbles are the most in NFL history. Since retiring, he has worked as a defensive line trainer as part of The Gridiron Gang and has even spent time as a pass-rush consultant with the Colts.
Paye showed immense promise as a rookie, leading Colts edge defenders with a Pro Football Focus grade of 69.6, which ranked 22nd in the NFL at the position, and his 39 quarterback pressures were second on the Colts only to All-Pro tackle DeForest Buckner. Paye's pass-rush grade of 71.3 was tops among all NFL rookie edge defenders and fourth among all rookies overall.
Odeyingbo spent a good portion of his season recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered in January. He didn't make his debut until Week 8 and was brought along slowly, only averaging 17.3 snaps per game. Year 2 should be much more involved for him, as the Colts love his size, athleticism, and position flexibility inside and outside.
Banogu is entering a crucial fourth season. His blend of size, speed, and athleticism is what drew the Colts to him but it has yet to come all together. His first two years were very quiet but he made plenty of noise in training camp last year, showing explosion and pass-rush moves while piling up more would-be sacks than anybody else. It didn't translate to much of a role in Matt Eberflus' defense, seeing a career-low 68 snaps, but this could be a clean slate for Banogu under new coordinator Gus Bradley.
Like Banogu, Williams has had an incognito career (with less playing time) but burst onto the scene last summer in training camp, particularly in joint practices against the Carolina Panthers. He saw action in eight games, totaling 62 snaps. The Colts elected not to re-sign free-agent defensive tackles Taylor Stallworth and Antwaun Woods this offseason, which opens the door for Williams to have a bigger role in 2022.
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