Colts: Did Chris Ballard just suggest Ben Banogu won’t make 53-man roster?

Colts DL Ben Banogu (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Colts DL Ben Banogu (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

When the Indianapolis Colts selected two pass rushers with their first two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, the first thought that came to mind was the end of Justin Houston’s tenure with the team.

But did we forget about another defender?

The reality of the situation is that Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye will be a Day 1 starter, and whenever Vanderbilt’s Dayo Odeyingbo can take the field (likely October) once he recovers from his Achilles injury, he’ll join the defensive line rotation — kind of like how safety Julian Blackmon was eased into action this past season following ACL surgery.

With Paye, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Kemoko Turay, Tyquan Lewis and the recently-signed Isaac Rochell in the mix as well, is Ben Banogu‘s time Indy almost over?

Colts GM Chris Ballard not mentioning Ben Banogu could hint at roster move.

General manager Chris Ballard appeared on Colin Cowherd’s podcast this week and talked about a number of topics — including the Carson Wentz trade — and when he spoke about the team’s pass rushing situation, Banogu’s name was ommitted.

Maybe it was an honest mistake. That much could be true. However, when you realize Banogu didn’t suit up for a number of games in 2020 due to his inability to impress the coaching staff during practice, you can’t help but wonder what the future holds for him after the Colts spent their premier draft capital on the exact position he plays.

Ballard doesn’t mess around, either. When he makes a mistake, he cuts ties swiftly.

Just look at some recent examples, like Pierre Desir and Malik Hooker. He made up his mind after he realized they weren’t the answer (at least from his perspective).

And being that Ballard takes his drafting very seriously, he might be irked more than many might think since he spent the No. 49 overall pick in the 2019 draft on Banogu, who, after dominating at TCU, has registered just 17 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 5 QB hits in 25 career games while playing 26% of the defensive snaps in 2019 and just 10% in 2020.

Compare that to his two years at TCU (he spent his other college season at Louisiana-Monroe): 112 tackles (34.5 for a loss) and 17 sacks over 27 games. Not even close.

The Colts probably weren’t expecting the 6-foot-3, 250-pound pass-rusher to wreak havoc starting Day 1, but to underwhelm in practice to the point in which the coaching staff felt it wasn’t worth it to dress up on game day?

Yeah, it seems Banogu’s leash is getting shorter by the minute, even when he’s not playing.