Yannick Ngakoue already proving to be a boost for Colts in latest defensive line rankings

With the addition of Yannick Ngakoue, the defensive line for the Indianapolis Colts is much more respected throughout the league.

In the past couple of years, the Indianapolis Colts have struggled to generate a consistent pass rush. This led to Chris Ballard and Indy placing an emphasis on edge rushers in the Draft. In 2021, the first two picks for the Colts were defensive ends.

However, Indianapolis wasn’t able to hit on any players that could immediately dominate the league. They picked up a number of contributors and players with really high ceilings like Kwity Paye, but there weren’t any answers for the now.

To fix that, the Colts sent talented cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to the Las Vegas Raiders to acquire defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue was a Pro Bowler in 2017 and is coming off a 10-sack season with the Raiders where he played under Gus Bradley.

Considering Bradley’s hire as defensive coordinator and Indy’s need for an established pass rusher, it made perfect sense for the team to go get Ngakoue. Although the Colts haven’t played any games yet, people are noticing the improvement on the defensive line.

In PFF’s recent defensive line rankings, Ben Linsey ranks the Colts at No. 11. That’s eight spots better than they were entering last season when Linsey ranked them at No. 19.


Colts ranked No. 11 defensive line

Linsey highlights Ngakoue, Pro Bowler DeForest Buckner, and Kwity Paye as the reason Indianapolis should be able to generate consistent pressure with their defensive line alone. With the moves made over the last few seasons, that’s the plan.

Ngakoue has already made it clear that his goal is to bring a quality pass rush back to Indy and Buckner has been one of the league’s best defensive tackles since he’s been in the NFL.

Paye, who’s returning for year two, is the candidate for many to have a breakout season. Now that he has experience in the NFL and is also learning from quality pass rushers like Ngakoue, he should be able to step things up a notch.

With the improved defensive line, an elite linebacker unit, and a secondary that also added some elite pieces, the Colts defense should be prepared to dominate the NFL. If they can put it all together, Indy may be topping the end-of-season rankings.