Colts: One surprising player who could lose roster spot in 2021

Colts DE Ben Banogu (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Colts DE Ben Banogu (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The NFL offseason is no stranger to surprising roster cuts, and they typically come in two separate waves: at the beginning of the offseason before free agency and right before the start of the regular season after training camp.

Of course, teams will either cut players to save cap space, or if they’re convinced that player doesn’t deserve to maintain his roster spot.

When it comes to the Indianapolis Colts, they’re fortunate enough to not have any debilitating contracts on their payroll. Fans have GM Chris Ballard to thank for that, and they can also thank him for the team’s incredibly deep roster.

With that being said, however, there seems to be at least one surprise cut on every team each offseason. It remains to be seen who that’ll be for the Colts, but we managed to single out defensive lineman Ben Banogu as a player who could fit that bill.

Ben Banogu could struggle to make the Colts’ final roster.

Following an impressive career at TCU after transferring from Louisiana-Monroe, the Colts selected Banogu with the No. 49 overall pick back in 2019. In two years for the Horned Frogs, Banogu compiled 112 tackles  (34.5 for loss), 17 sacks and five forced fumbles.

However, he’s struggled to find much success at the NFL level. Over his first two seasons, the former second-round pick has yet to start a game and has appeared in just 25 contests, registering just 17 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five QB hits and 10 pressures.

For added context, Banogu played just 26% of the defensive snaps as a rookie and logged just a 10% snap share as a sophomore last year. It also doesn’t help the 25-year-old’s case that Ballard failed to mention him in Indianapolis’ defensive line rotation during an interview with Fox Sports radio host Colin Cowherd earlier this offseason.

Though the Colts lost Justin Houston (who remains unsigned) and Denico Autry to free agency this offseason, they welcomed a legion of newcomers to their pass rushing armada in 2021 draft picks Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo, as well as free agent signee Isaac Rochell.

That trio will join a crowded DL room that features the likes of Tyquan Lewis, who seems poised for a starting role based on the rotations at OTAs, Kemoko Turay, who will hopefully be fully recovered from ankle surgery, and Al-Quadin Muhammad, who re-signed on a one-year deal.

While cutting Banogu, who’s still on his rookie deal, would only save Indy in the range of $500,000, he simply hasn’t done much to maintain his spot on the roster. If he wants to keep that spot for a third year running, he’ll need to be one of the top performers at training camp once the Colts return from summer break.