The Indianapolis Colts upgraded their outside linebacker depth on Tuesday, as the team signed a familiar foe by agreeing to terms with former New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Akeem Ayers.
Originally drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the 6’3″, 255 pound outside linebacker endured a bit of a career resurgence following a 2014 trade to the New England Patriots, making 4 starts in 9 games while recording 20 tackles, 4 sacks, and an interception during the team’s Super Bowl XLIX championship season.
The 27 year old linebacker has 206 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions in his 6-year career which includes 75 games (58 starts).
However, last offseason, Ayers signed a 2-year contract with the then-St. Louis Rams, recording 47 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and a forced fumble in 16 games (10 starts). His debut season didn’t go as well as planned, and Ayers’ Rams career just abruptly ended this past weekend as part of the team’s final 53-man roster cuts.
While Ayers is widely expected to help the Colts outside linebacker depth, he’s seen as more of an “edge-setter” in the Erik Walden run-stopping mode, as opposed to a pure pass rusher such as sackmaster Robert Mathis.
That doesn’t mean he can’t contribute to the Colts pass rush–like Walden has to an extent; however, he’s not expected to be a major solution to the team’s pass rushing woes.
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That being said, the 27 year old can certainly boost the Colts overall outside linebacker depth and can play against both the run and pass–making him a reliable rotational veteran for the defense going forward.
As for Thorpe, the 4th-year safety’s stint with the Colts was truly short, as he was claimed this past Sunday off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders.
The 26 year old safety has appeared in 37 career games (2 starts), recording 44 tackles, 7 passes defensed, and an interception.
He appeared in 14 games (2 starts) this past season for the Oakland Raiders, finishing with 33 tackles, 6 passes defensed, and an interception.
It’s also worth noting that recently released cornerback Frankie Williams was re-signed to the Colts practice squad–using their last open spot. The undrafted rookie cornerback from Purdue stood out as a nickelback during training camp and preseason and will be kept within the organization for the time being.