Colts: 3 edge rushers Indy has to target in 2021 NFL Draft

Michigan DE Kwity Paye (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Michigan DE Kwity Paye (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Indianapolis Colts fans have made a big fuss about the team’s ultra conservative approach to free agency, which is totally understandable you consider that they’ve yet to make a big splash or sign an in-house star to an extension and still have over $25 million in cap space at their disposal.

It goes without saying that defensive end is currently Indy’s most glaring need.

Based on the latest reports, it’s looking like they’ll either re-sign veteran Justin Houston or draft a touted prospect in the early rounds of the 2021 Draft.

The timing of this is actually pretty ironic, as Houston will meet with potential suitors for the first time this week and would reportedly like to have a deal inked before draft night.

Given the lack of lucrative deals being doled out in free agency, it’s likely that Houston will have a myriad of teams vying for his services.

In other words, he’s no guarantee to return to the Colts, who will have no other choice but to turn to the draft for his replacement if he signs elsewhere.

Even if Houston ends up re-signing, it wouldn’t hurt to add another talent to the mix. Taking that into account, let’s highlight three edge rushers Indy must target this month.

The Colts should target these three pass rushers in the 2021 Draft.

Wake Forest DE Carlos Basham (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

3. Carlos Basham

Wake Forest star Carlos Basham is an intriguing first-round option for the Colts.

Let’s start by saying that Indy shouldn’t target Carlos Basham with the No. 21 overall pick. That would simply be too high based on his current projections, which have been as high as a late first-round selection and as low as a potential steal on Day 3 of the draft.

It would be downright shocking if Basham lasted until Day 3, but we see him as a perfect option for the Colts in the second round. Not slated to pick until No. 54 overall, they’d likely have to trade up in order to nab him, but we’d see nothing wrong with that if he was the best edge rusher left on the board and they were concerned somebody else would pounce on him.

That isn’t to say that we don’t rate Basham as a first-round talent. In fact, in the event that Indy isn’t satisfied with their remaining options at No. 21 overall and decides to acquire more picks by trading back to later in the round, we’d love if it they nabbed the Wake Forest product.

The great thing about Basham is that he isn’t beholden to the defensive end position. The Demon Deacon star was asked to do more than just bullrush opposing quarterbacks and he handled these responsibilities effectively and without a whimper, proving that he’s the ultimate team player.

At this year’s Senior Bowl, however, Basham was deployed solely as a pass rusher and he absolutely balled out. The Colts would probably prefer if he added more speed to his game, but that can be fixed with a proper diet and extra time in the weight room.

Bottom line? If Indianapolis wants to add more versatility to their defensive line, but also somebody who’s more than capable of dominating off the edge, Basham should be their target.