Who is the Best Defensive Player in Colts History?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 04: Outside linebacker Robert Mathis
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 04: Outside linebacker Robert Mathis /

The Colts don’t have a long history of strong defensive play. But they do have some individual standouts on that side of the ball. Which of them is the best?

Indianapolis is not known for their strong defenses. They have mainly been led by their good offenses and strong quarterback play. But the Colts have had some good players on defense. In fact, the ones in conversation for the best defensive player in team history have been on recent teams.

There are really three players in the conversation for the best defensive player in Colts history. They are Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, and Bob Sanders. And coincidentally, they all have played with the Colts in the last ten years.

Mathis, who actually celebrating his birthday today, holds the career record for most strip sacks in history with 47. He also owns the most sacks in franchise history. He played along side Freeney and formed the most feared defensive end tandem in the league for several years.

His rush mate Freeney, was the more feared end on the Colts, but he had good reason to be. He performed the spin move on the edge like no one had before. Freeney was great at getting to the quarterback, recording 107 sacks while playing for the Colts. He is also the only one of these players still currently active.

Sanders is the only one of these players to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He won that back in 2007, and is still the only Colt to ever win the award. He helped lead the defense to have one of the best pass defenses that year. Sanders was also oft injured though, and never played 16 games in a season.

Next: 3 Best Contracts on the Colts Roster

So who is the best of them all? You would have to go with Robert Mathis. He played his whole career with the Colts, and was still able to be effective even when the team switched to a 3-4 defense. He was great right up until he retired, and the Colts were lucky to have him.