No. 2: DT Grover Stewart
On a defense that is laden with stars like Leonard, it’s easy to look over a space-eating defensive tackle who was drafted out of a Division II school. Stewart has quietly become one of the best run-stuffing linemen in all of football, which is a necessity for Eberflus’ defense to function as intended.
The raw stats don’t look as impressive as some other interior linemen, as Stewart has just 83 tackles and 3.5 sacks over the last two seasons. However, Stewart has graded out as one of Pro Football Focus’ best run-stopping defensive tackles in the game, and he could evolve into a truly elite lineman if he becomes just a tad quicker as a pass rusher.
Colts DT Grover Stewart is one of the best run-stuffers in the league
If the Colts end up finally moving into that Super Bowl contender tier, their defense will start getting the national publicity that it deserves after years toiling away in anonymity. Even when Leonard and Buckner are removed, this is a talented group, and a Pro Bowl performance from Stewart can have the same impact Vita Vea had for Tampa Bay this season.
Even with the strong defensive line, Ballard will need to either bring back Justin Houston or sign a replacement to take some of the pass-rushing burden off of the interior line. If Ballard gets that done, Stewart might finally become a Pro Bowler, all the while establishing Indy as one of the best defensive lines in the AFC.