Colts NFL Draft: Defensive Line Prospect Watch

As we continue to look at the Indianapolis Colts draft needs and prospects that fit the system, we are gonna focus on defensive lineman. Now, the Colts defensive line has been off and on all year. Clearly, Indianapolis gets just about all of their pressure from NFL sack leader Robert Mathis, who accounts for 13.5 of the 26 sacks the Colts have had all year.

Starting with defensive ends, Cory Redding has quietly had a good year. However, he’s on the wrong side of 30, and not getting any younger. With Redding, you have a vocal leader on and off the field. He is constantly motivating the team and is a fan favorite around the community. Alongside Redding is Ricky Jean-Francois, who was a big addition this offseason (signed a 4 year, $22 million contract). Jean-Francois is playing exceptionally well and has done a good job of stopping the run. Backup and rotational players Ricardo Matthews and Fili Moala will both be free agents at season’s end and will likely not be resigned.

At nose tackle (3-4 defense), the Colts signed Aubrayo Frankin last year in free agency to a 1 year contract. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in terms of keeping him, but I’d imagine they let him go. Him and Redding both are 33 years of age. The other nose tackles on the team is the 24-year-old bulldozer, Josh Chapman and their 5th round draft pick, Montori Hughes. Chapman has faced severe injuries but coach Pagano is very high on him and likes him a lot and he will likely be in the starting spot next year. Hughes is just 23, so him and Chapman could fill in the interior line for the future. If Hughes can get his life straightened up, 2 failed drug tests in college, then he can be a huge piece for this defense.

With that said, here are some prospects the Colts should look at

Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor- Oakman is a freak athlete and a stud on the Baylor front line. Now, he’s not their every down starter but he still gets a lot of playing time. He’s got ridiculous size at 6-foot-9, 275 pounds and crazy length. One of the best things about him is how violent and physical he is. He’s raw, but has a lot of potential to be great in the NFL someday. He reminds me of last years DE Ziggy Ansah. Now, he’s only a RS Sophomore, so leaving for the NFL is still in the air. null

Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota- Although he plays in a 4-3 scheme, I think Hageman’s versatility will allow him to play anywhere on the defensive line. Hageman is known to overwhelm offensive lineman with his tenacity and godly strength. High motor player.

George Uko, DE, USC- Uko is a Junior out of California that plays in a 3-4 scheme. He accelerates well off the snap, showing good burst off the line. He has a great set of hands that he consistently uses. Sometimes he gets a little out of whack, flopping his hands around, causing him to lose balance. Very quick, active player.