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By: Kevin Hickey
Needing to add some depth to the pass-rushing unit, the Indianapolis Colts made an early free agency move by signing edge rusher Samson Ebukam to a three-year deal.
While the exact nature of Ebukam’s role is unknown at the moment, he seems to be an ideal fit for the LEO role in Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme—the same role held by Yannick Ngakoue in 2022.
Though Ebukam’s production may not match Ngakoue’s on the surface, there’s a chance he thrives in a similar way while adding more upside as a run defender, something Ngakoue struggled with massively.
In listing some of the best bargains of early free agency from our friends over at Touchdown Wire, the Colts signing of Ebukam made the list. Here’s what Doug Farrar had to say about the move:
Ebukam was another defensive lineman who got on the good foot with Ryans running his defense — he had four decent seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, and then blew up in production with the 49ers in 2021 and 2022. Last season, he had six sacks, a career-high 50 quarterback pressures, and 28 stops.
Ebukam was far more an edge guy than Omenihu, who plied his trade all over the line, but the good news for the Colts, who signed him to a three-year, $24 million contract with $10.755 million guaranteed, is that Ebukam cam work off that edge with all kinds of authority. Neither left tackle Tyler Smith nor tight end Dalton Schultz had much of an answer for Ebukam on this sack of Dak Prescott in the divisional round. Ebukam won with technique and effort, and that’s what the Colts can expect from him, as well.
While Ebukam will bring some electricity and tenacity to the defensive end room, it’s still a move that doesn’t have to hinder the development of young pass rushers Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo.
There were times in 2022 when Ngakoue was on the field far too much, likely due to the contract and compensation the Colts gave up in the offseason trade to acquire him. That meant fewer snaps for Paye and Odeyingbo to work together.
But now, Ebukam doesn’t need to be a 70-80% snap player. He can work more in a rotation as a pass rusher while having essentially the same rate of pressure that Ngakoue produced in 2022. The contract also doesn’t demand a massive starting role either.
Ebukam hasn’t reached his ceiling yet as a pass rusher, and the Colts are hoping his elite athleticism will help him develop even more in Bradley’s aggressive defensive front.
There’s a real chance this signing turns out to be a steal as long as the 27-year-old can stay healthy.
Keep up to date with the latest news, signings and rumors through our free agency tracker for the Colts.
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Originally posted on Colts Wire