This Colts player could be surprise cut ahead of Week 1

The Indianapolis Colts are currently enjoying their five-week summer break following the conclusion of OTAs and mandatory minicamp. They’ll return to Grand Park Sports Campus for training camp in late July, with veterans reporting on July 26 and first-year players reporting three days earlier on July 24.

With content no longer at a premium with the Colts on vacation, it’s a perfect time to delve into roster predictions for the 2022 season. We won’t go as far as to predict the entire 53-man roster, but OTAs and minicamp offered needed perspective in terms of who has an uphill climb to make the team out of training camp.

Offseason rosters are currently loaded with 90 players, but they’ll get trimmed to 53 by the end of the preseason. Given that the Colts’ core has been in place for years, Chris Ballard and Frank Reich will face some tough decisions.

In terms of one player who could be a surprise cut, defensive end Ben Banogu has been treading water for years. It’s unclear if this will be the offseason he gets the axe, but he fits the surprise cut bill more than anyone else.

Could the Colts cut edge rusher Ben Banogu before Week 1?

Ballard has lived and died by worshipping a prospect’s Relative Athletic Score during the drafting process. Banogu is a prime example of the latter, as the former TCU standout checked every box with a 9.71 RAS leading up to the 2019 showcase. His most intriguing attribute was his explosion, which graded as “elite” thanks to a 9.89-inch vertical and 11.02-inch broad jump.

Unfortunately for the Colts, Banogu’s show-stopping athleticism hasn’t translated to him being an effective NFL player.

In three seasons, the Nigeria native has logged just 439 defensive snaps, across which he’s tallied 2.5 sacks, six QB hits and three tackles for loss. Most of that production (if you can even call it that) came during his rookie year. Since then, Banogu’s snap share has dwindled in each year, dropping from 26% as a rookie to a lowly 12% in Year 3.

With trade acquisition Yannick Ngakoue essentially replacing Kemoko Turay, who departed via free agency, on the roster, Banogu is likely on the outskirts of the DE rotation. Not to mention, 2021 second-rounder Dayo Odeyingbo is in for a bigger workload after an Achilles injury limited him to 173 snaps as a rookie.

With Odeyingbo and recent signing Ifeadi Odenigbo capable of filling multiple roles on the defensive line and Banogu limited to an edge rushing role, Tyquan Lewis still working his way back from a season-ending knee injury might not be enough to save Banogu’s bacon this time around.

Training camp will likely determine Banogu’s fate, but it’s worth noting the Colts can save $1.305 million against the cap by cutting him while being left with a measly $585,819 dead cap charge, according to Over The Cap.