2017 Positional Preview: Edge Defender

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Jabaal Sheard /

The Colts addressed one of the team’s biggest needs in free agency this offseason picking up two quality edge defenders. How will John Simon and Jabaal Sheard react to increased roles in Indianapolis?

New general manager Chris Ballard signed two rotational edge defenders in free agency with the expectation that they can be effective as full-time starters in Indianapolis.

Jabaal Sheard was an underrated piece on the Patriots’ defense over the past two seasons after he was traded to New England from Cleveland. Sheard earned starter-level snaps in year two with the Patriots where he excelled as a run defender, and was a productive pass-rusher.

The Colts gave Sheard a three-year $25 million contract this offseason as they expect him to be an upgrade at the position.

John Simon was the other edge defender Chris Ballard picked up in free agency signing a three-year $13.5 million contract with the Colts.

Simon developed into a solid player in his four seasons with the Texans. He racked up 8.5 sacks in his final two seasons in Houston, and Indianapolis’ front office expects him to continue on that upward career trajectory with the Colts.

The Colts attacked the edge defender position in the draft as well when they selected Tarrell Basham out of Ohio in the third round. Basham should get an opportunity to earn some playing time behind Simon and Sheard as NFL scouts liked him as a sleeper prospect in this year’s draft class.

Margus Hunt and Kendall Langford round out the rest of the Colts’ rotation on the edge.

Hunt comes over from Cincinnati where he was a backup defensive end.

Langford missed 9 games last season due to injury, but he had 7 sacks in his last healthy season in 2015.

While the Colts lack an elite playmaker on the edge, they have several solid players who have the ability to get to the quarterback in the right scheme.

In case you missed it, here are our other positional previews:


Wide Receiver

Tight End

Offensive Tackle

Offensive Guard