— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2022
At 2:22 P.M. on Wednesday, March 16th, the Indianapolis Colts made a significant trade. A trade that shocked the entire Colts fanbase. After such a strong year for the Colts last season, there was one player who no one would expect to get traded: Rock Ya-Sin. He was the Colt’s top outside corner and was on a rookie contract; there was absolutely no way he would get traded, right? Think again. Rock Ya-Sin was traded for Yannick Ngakoue, and I still can’t wrap my head around it for mostly good reasons. I will discuss why the trade makes sense and the trade implications for the Colts.
Why the trade makes sense
The Colts had zero pass rush last year. There is no other way to put it. The Colts had the second-worst pressure rate in the NFL last year at 18.1%, ranked 26th in sacks at 33 sacks, the worst hurry % in the NFL, which measures how many times the QB hurries per drop back on a percentage basis. The defense could not disrupt the Quarterback in any way. They could not put the Quarterback in the ground, yet still were the best-ranked team in turnover percentage and forced 33 turnovers.
In his six years in the NFL, Yannick Ngakoue has forced 20 fumbles, had 119 QB hits and had 55.5 sacks. Last year in Las Vegas, he had 37 Quarterback pressures which ranked in the top 10 in the NFL and 12th in sacks with 10. With the addition of Gus Bradley, the Colts also didn’t have a clear LEO on the roster. So what is the LEO (Pictures of alignments below!)? He is the weakside defensive end in the Colt’s new Defense; he doesn’t have to be particularly big because he operates in space and plays from a looser alignment. The Colts will simply ask Yannick Ngakoue to wreak havoc in the backfield. This role is perfect for Yannick Ngakoue since he is not the biggest defensive end but is an extremely disruptive pass rusher. Yannick Ngakoue is also only 26, so he could continue to develop, and he may just be entering his prime. With one year left on his deal, I would expect him to get an extension in addition to the trade to Indianapolis.
4-3 Over W/LEO on right
4-3 Under Alignment with LEO (Seahawks Used in this Example, and Yanick would be on the left end of this photo!)
The implications of this trade
Undoubtedly, this is a huge trade for the Colts. A team that just invested two draft picks on pass rushers last year in the draft in Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo. I would expect Kwity to be the strongside defensive end (The Big End) in this defense now with the trade for Yannick Ngakoue, and I would expect Dayo to play inside on passing downs and get some snaps on early downs inside and be the backup for Kwity Paye as a Big Defensive end. I believe another addition to the pass-rushing room could be made through free agency, so that is something to watch for. The Colts did trade their top outside corner to land a stud in Yannick Ngakoue, so they need to address that while they can in free agency and attempt to address the CB position in the draft.
(Photos VIA Field Gulls)
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