INDIANAPOLIS – Well, the Colts defense will have some notable changes to it in 2023.
Part of that change appears to be a new name at Gus Bradley’s LEO (edge pass rushing position) spot.
On Tuesday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Colts are giving San Francisco’s Samson Ebukam a 3-year, $27-million deal.
Ebukam, 27, has 23.5 career sacks and 52 quarterback his in his 6 NFL seasons. He’s missed just 2 games in his entire career.
This move would appear to mark the end of Yannick Ngakoue in Indianapolis.
And the Colts are projecting Ebukam into a bit of a larger role, with the hope his production will grow with more of an expanded role.
While Ngakoue has (and had) better sack numbers than Ebukam, the Colts appear to be upgrading on run downs with this move. Plus, Ebukam was more of a consistent pressure presence last season, compared to Ngakoue.
Of course, having Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa opposite you as a rusher is a nice luxury, and those constant double teams won’t be on the other side of Ebukam here in Indy.
Ebukam has never had more than 5 sacks in a season.
This signing gives the Colts more of a 3-down option at the LEO position, yet still a guy who has some quickness off the edge to affect the quarterback at a nice rate. Think of a higher-upside version of Al-Quadin Muhammad.
Ebukam, who was born in Nigeria, was a 4 th round pick by the Rams out of Eastern Washington. He signed a 2-year deal with the 49ers prior to the 2021 season. He’s started 61-of-96 games in his career, including 15 last year for one of the best defensive lines in football.
Remember, the Colts defensive line approach of immediately wanting to get up field is something the 49ers have used for years, so that shouldn’t be a change for Ebukam.
As of now, the Colts have a solid 6-man defensive line group: Ebukam, Kwity Paye, Dayo Odeyingbo, Grover Stewart, DeForest Buckner and Tyquan Lewis.
With free agency officially starting on Wednesday afternoon, here’s a look at the early Colts moves on defense: