Defensive Line Burning Questions Heading Into Colts Training Camp

Defensive Line Burning Questions Heading Into Colts Training Camp

Blog > Kevin's Corner > Colts Coverage > Defensive Line Burning Questions Heading Into Colts Training Camp

Defensive Line Burning Questions Heading Into Colts Training Camp

We are less than three weeks away from the start of the Colts 2018 Training Camp. Our burning questions series is back, with the defensive line position group up next.

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – All the questions the Colts face heading into their 2018 Training Camp will see answers develop in front of fans at Grand Park.

On Wednesday, July 25, the Colts will report to work in Westfield for three and a half weeks, with a joint practice session against the Baltimore Ravens concluding things on Saturday, Aug. 18.

After looking at the offense last week, it’s time for to move on to the defense with our “Burning Questions” for all position groups heading into the 2018 Training Camp.

Here’s a look at the defensive line burning questions with Training Camp nearing:

-Do the Colts have enough beef at defensive tackle?

During the spring, we saw 270-pound Denico Autry line up next to Al Woods as the starting defensive tackles.

This change in a defense has really impacted how the Colts view the interior of their defensive line.

A player like Autry, who is more so in the size of a defensive end, has been thrust into duty at the 3-technique, with the Colts void of anyone else capable to occupy that spot.

Guys like Grover Stewart, Hassan Ridgeway and Margus Hunt are going to be competing for roster spots/playing time behind Woods and Autry.

With so much change to the interior of the defense in 2018, the question remains if the Colts have enough in the trenches to be better against the run.

Last year, the Colts had a stretch mid-season of doing a great job with their rush defense.

They were 9th in rushing yards allowed per play (3.95 YPC), but 26th in rushing yards given up per game (120.4 YPG).

Will that sub-4.0 YPC number continue given such a drastic change in body types and philosophy up front?

STAT TO NOTE: Denico Autry had 5 sacks as a reserve defensive lineman in Oakland last year.


-Will Tarell Basham secure a starting spot?

Right now, things are looking very good for Tarell Basham starting in 2018.

While the scheme change has significantly hurt several Colts, Basham is in the beneficiary category for sure.

A 4-3 defensive end was the position Basham played in college. When the Colts took Basham in last year’s third round, they admittedly stunted his initial growth a bit by plugging him in as a 3-4 stand-up linebacker.

Back in his natural system, Basham has to be viewed as the favorite to start opposite Jabaal Sheard.

We really didn’t see any serious pressure from the other defensive ends (i.e. John Simon, Kemoko Turay) pushing for starting jobs during the offseason program.

STAT TO NOTE: Jabaal Sheard (5.5 sacks) was the only member of the Colts who had more than 3.0 sacks last season.


-How much playing time for Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis?

Neither second-round pick was completely healthy during the spring.

But both figure to factor into some playing time in 2018.

For Turay, any semblance of pass rushing should offer him at least a situational role on passing downs. The real evaluation for him will come in full pads. This is a guy who still has to prove himself on a more consistent basis after having some underwhelming sack numbers for a normal second-round pick.

For Lewis, he has to be viewed as more of an interior line prospect going forward. Unlike Turay, Lewis was very productive, for long stretches, in earning All Big-Ten honors at Ohio State.

Turay’s specific skillset (as a potentially elite rusher) allows him the opportunity to earn playing time quicker than Lewis.

Whereas Lewis is at a spot where the playing time is more open, in the interior of the defensive line.

With the Colts not having a ton of great current fits for what is desired in a 4-3 front, they really need to hit on these two picks.

STAT TO NOTE: In college, Turay had 15.5 career sacks and Lewis had 23.5 career sacks. Turay had 20.5 tackles for loss, with Lewis piling up 36.5 tackles for loss.


ICYMI: Quarterback Burning Questions

ICYMI: Running Back Burning Questions

ICYMI: Wide Receiver/Tight End Burning Questions

ICYMI: Offensive Line Burning Questions



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