Samson Ebukam (DE)
The news flew somewhat under the radar at the time, but Samson Ebukam’s signing was an important one for the Colts. Indianapolis needed to not only improve their run defense but also replace the pass-rushing ability of former Pro Bowler Yannick Ngakoue who was set to hit free agency.
By bringing in Samson Ebukam, Ballard wisely addressed both concerns with one player. Ebukam is a multi-talented edge defender who can help contain the run and apply pressure on opposing QBs. While the Colts' defense had a rough season as a whole, Ebukam was individually solid. The 28-year-old recorded a team-high 9.5 sacks and led all Indianapolis DEs with 57 tackles. To put that in perspective, Ngakoue also had 9.5 sacks in 2022, but just 29 tackles.
Ebukam’s success certainly wasn’t a given as 2023 was easily the best season of his seven-year career. Ballard deserves praise for recognizing Ebukam’s potential and acquiring him at a discounted price ($24 million over three years). Ebukam may not be a superstar playmaker but he’s a valuable part of the Colts’ edge rotation and he’s under contract for two more years on a very reasonable deal. That’s good business.