Indianapolis Colts: Isaac Rochell signing does little to address pass rush issue
The Indianapolis Colts haven’t had the most active offseason following the Carson Wentz trade, as GM Chris Ballard hasn’t used his cap space to sign stars like Will Fuller and Trent Williams. Instead, Ballard appears to be one again trying to make incremental improvements to the roster, as evidenced by the addition of defensive end Issac Rochell.
Rochell, a former undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, spent the last four seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, recording 74 tackles and 9.5 sacks in that span. He made his mark as a versatile backup lineman.
The Colts have some holes on the defensive side, including finding a potential replacement for Justin Houston and getting some depth in the secondary. Rather than plug one of those two holes, Ballard set his sights on Rochell.
Adam Schefter reported that the Colts have signed Rochell to a one-year, $2.5 million contract that could be worth up to $3 million. Rochell is a quality player, but is he really what the Colts need at this point?
Isaac Rochell won’t move the needle for the Indianapolis Colts
Not only did Rochell record just 9.5 sacks during his four seasons with the Chargers, but those numbers are actually a bit deceiving, as five of those sacks came during 2018. Rochell has never started more than six games in a season or tallied more than 29 tackles in that span.
The Colts have versatile defensive linemen down pat, as DeForest Buckner and Ben Banogu can check those boxes. What about their depth? Taylor Stallworth, Tyquan Lewis, and Kemoko Turay are serviceable backups. Ballard trying to replace Houston with Rochell is a strategy that places almost too much faith in defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
Rochell would be a good signing if he plays a rotational role as a 4-3 defensive end. However, if Ballard doesn’t sign someone to start over him, that would be an egregious mistake, as Rochell coming off of the edge would do little to intimidate some of the more experienced tackles in this league.
Rochell’s ability to play the run, move around the defensive line, and show off his charitable spirit to the point where he was named a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee will endear him to Colts fans, as well it should.
However, the Colts have some holes that Ballard needs to be more aggressive in fixing. Rochell is solid, but he isn’t going to change the scope of the defense, and those are the kind of signings that Indianapolis needed.