The Indianapolis Colts may have finished their season in disappointing fashion, but the team did have a surprisingly successful regular season run, powered by a number of standout individuals. Various impact players on both sides of the ball helped the Colts dramatically exceed preseason expectations.
Using PFF’s player grades, we identified the five highest-graded Indianapolis players of the 2023 season. Some of the players on the list were no-brainers and already known for their elite talent. Others were more unexpected and emerged as breakout stars this year. All of them, however, played a key role for the Colts. Let’s take a closer look at who cracked the top five.
Samson Ebukam (DE) — 84.4
Colts GM Chris Ballard can take a lot of pride in the fact that the team’s highest-graded player was a 2023 free agent signing who exceeded expectations in his first season in Indianapolis. Ebukam — PFF’s No. 15 edge defender in the entire league — was both productive and versatile this year.
Opposing offenses could certainly feel Ebukam’s presence whether he was rushing the passer or defending the run. According to ESPN Analytics, Ebukam’s 35% run stop win rate was third-highest in the NFL among edge players, only behind Defensive Player of the Year finalist Maxx Crosby and Defensive Rookie of the Year finalist Will Anderson. Based on those numbers as well as his career-high 57 tackles, Ebukam’s 80.0 run defense grade from PFF was well-deserved.
While he wasn’t known for this part of his game before joining the Colts, Ebukam also led the team in sacks (9.5), forced fumbles (3), and pass rush win rate (19%), which translated to a respectable PFF pass-rush grade of 72.6. Indianapolis discovered a real gem in Ebukam who proved to be a difference-maker on defense in a short amount of time.