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AFC South

Pony Personnel 2020: Defensive Ends

Al-Quadin Muhammad. Photo by Keith Allison. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

With the 2020 NFL regular season beginning in a month, we will be presenting a position based breakdown of the Colts roster.  The next couple weeks will be for the defensive side, and the final weeks will be for the offense.

2019 DE’s

#99 Justin Houston 

#93 Jabaal Sheard

#97 Al-Quadin Muhammad

#57 Kemoko Turray

#52 Ben Banogu

#94 Tyquan Lewis

 

2020 Who’s Out

#93 Jabaal Sheard

 

2020 Currently Rostered & Cap Hit

#99 Justin Houston

$9,000,000/Final Year

#97 Al-Quadin Muhammad

$2,133,000/ Final Year

#57 Kemoko Turray

$1,423,201/ 1 Yr Remaining

#52 Ben Banogu

$1,351,024/ 2 Yr Remaining

#94 Tyquan Lewis

$1,190,742/ 1 Yr Remaining 

#73 Kendall Coleman

$615,000/ 2 Yr Remaining

#95 Gerri Green

$610,000/ Final Year

*All “cap hit” info obtained from overthecap.com

The Colts are returning 5 of their 6 defensive ends from 2019, opting not to re-sign veteran Jabaal Sheard .  UDFA rookie Kendall Coleman and 2nd year Gerri Green will compete for the 6th spot, assuming the Colts choose to carry 6 defensive ends on their opening day 53 man roster.  #95 Gerri Green was a 6th round pick, last year by the Colts.  He was cut prior to the start of the 2019 regular season, signed by New England to their practice squad, waived by New England, and signed back by the Colts to the practice squad. 

DE Personnel

Justin Houston

Houston was undoubtedly the Colts best, 2019 edge player.  He lead the position in snaps, sacks, pressures, and QB knockdowns.  He was second in hurries and only missed two tackles the entire season.  2019 was the first time since 2014 that Houston played all 16 games.  Coincidentally, he had his best statistical game vs. Houston.  There is no reason to believe that Houston cannot maintain this same level of production in the 2020 season.  Of note, though, is that Houston’s snap count, and team snap percentage, began declining during the final third of the season.  This could be due to Indy’s playoff chances diminishing as the Colts lost 5 of their final 6 games.  It is also possible that a full season and high snap count contributed to higher fatigue levels.   2019 was the first time, since 2014, that Houston played all 16 games.  Ultimately, though, there is no reason to believe that Houston cannot maintain this same level of production in the 2020 season.*

Al-Quadin Muhammad

Substituting for the injured Jabaal Sheard, Muhammad started, opposite Justin Houston, the first 4 games of the 2019 season.  Sheard’s return sent Muhammad to the second unit.  He saw almost 70 more snaps in 2019, than 2018.  In 2019 he easily set career bests in all pass rush categories.  From a 5 and Wide-9 technique he found success with edge speed and stunts through the B-gap.  This is the final year of Muhammad’s contract.  Barring a Pro Bowl level season, it is unlikely that the Colts will offer a significant returning contract.  Muhammad remains a solid run defender, setting the edge, and adequate, yet evolving, pass rusher.*

Kemoko Turay

Turay only played 4 weeks of the season before fracturing his ankle in the Sunday night game, at Kansas City.  He missed week 2 at Tennessee with a neck injury.  He only played 81 defensive snaps in 2019.  He has had shoulder issues going back to college.  Staying healthy and on the field will be the top priority for Turay in 2020.  He was primarily deployed with the 2nd & 3rd unit, in addition to obvious passing situations.  He did enter the first defensive series, at Kansas City, on 3rd and short. Anyone who has studied Turay knows he has the goods to make it as a strong pass rusher in the league.  New defensive line coach Brian Baker recently observed that Turay has, “a little bit of a light coming on.” He is earmarked as someone the Colts would gladly give a long term extension, if play and health follow the assumed trajectory.  His presence will continue to elevate the Colts defensive end play, in 2020.*

Ben Banogu

Taken in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Banogu, along with Turay, is seen as a future cornerstone of the Colts defensive line.  Banogu played in ¼ of the defensive snaps for the Colts, in 2019.  He played in all 16 games, but never started.  He was used in 43% of the defensive snaps, week 1, at the LA Chargers.  Mid season he played roughly 50% of the defensive snaps vs Denver, and at Pittsburgh.  The remaining weeks he played around 25% of the defensive snaps.  He played exclusively, on the left side of the line.  On film, he looks like the biggest defensive lineman the Colts have.  He uses more power-based moves when rushing the QB.  He doesn’t have the same explosiveness as Turay to get around the corner.  He did, however, test very high in explosiveness at the combine.  He seems to go through the offensive lineman, as opposed to going around.  The primary thing to keep in mind, when studying and projecting Banogu, is that he, again much like Turay, is raw and relatively inexperienced playing football.  Progression in the nuances of hand technique and pass rush moves would really elevate his game in 2020.*

Tyquan Lewis

Lewis is entering his third year in the NFL.  Lewis was injured for seven games in the 2019 season.  The final 3 games of the season his usage went up as he played in over 40% of all defensive snaps.  Lewis plays with a high motor.  When the Colts utilize their Nascar package, he kicks inside to a 3 technique.  Lewis needs to improve on his tackling as he had, by far, the highest rate of missed tackles (28.6%) by a Colts defensive lineman.  We really have not been able to see the true capability of Lewis.  Through nine games, 2019, Lewis had 4 hurries, 5 pressures, 1 QB knockdown, and 0 sacks.  He has a nice balance of strength and burst to his game.  A healthy Lewis, in 2020, will provide the defensive end unit with versatility and depth.*

If Houston can keep par, and the young core can keep developing, there is no reason to believe that this group will advance in the 2020 NFL season.

*All statistical information obtained from Pro-Football-Reference.com

 

 

 

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