This Day 2 Colts draft target could be a Yannick Ngakoue replacement
The Indianapolis Colts are widely expected to use their first-round draft choice in the 2023 NFL Draft on a quarterback, with Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's CJ Stroud populating most of the mock drafts out there. What Chris Ballard chooses to do with his second pick will be even more interesting.
With the wide receiver room lacking star potential, the offensive line still a huge work in progress, and the secondary far from a finished product, Ballard could go in one of many different directions. The defensive line, however, might be as big of a need if Yannick Ngakoue does not return.
While the oft-traded veteran was productive last year, tallying 9.5 sacks, the idea of him being on the 2023 roster is not a sure thing. Ballard could spend his cap space elsewhere and use a draft pick to replace him for cheap. While he has struck out on second-round linemen like Ben Banogu, Tyquan Lewis, and Dayo Odeyingbo, 2023 might be different.
If Ballard chooses to go back to the defensive line, one player that could end up coming to Indianapolis is Notre Dame defensive end Isaiah Foskey. A consensus All-American and captain for the Fighting Irish last season, Foskey could evolve into a long-term starter on the other side of Kwity Paye.
Will the Indianapolis Colts draft Isaiah Foskey?
Foskey has recorded 22 sacks over the last two seasons thanks to some violent hands and power that will translate to the NFL stage. Flexible enough to bend around tackles and disengage from blocks as well as many of the no-doubt first-round linemen, Foskey's best asset might be his brain.
With a tireless motor and great feel for the game, Foskey excelled at defending the run, staying disciplined on play fakes, and countering offensive linemen as a rusher. While one clip of him getting stonewalled by Dawand Jones at the Senior Bowl went viral, he put more than enough sterling moments on tape in Mobile.
Foskey's concerns stem from a lack of tremendous athletic ability. A rigid athlete who struggles to change direction, Foskey's burst off the snap was hit or miss. Some may view him as a Lewis-esque tweener that is too small for full-time hand-in-the-dirt work and not quick enough to be a rush linebacker.
Of his 11 sacks last season, 5.5 of them came against UNLV, Marshall, and a 4-8 Cal team.
Foskey's success will be determined by how much he can improve his speed and overall athletic ability. If he checks that box in Indy, both edge rusher spots in the starting lineup could be checked for a half-decade.