INDIANAPOLIS – In a way, the Colts have seven newcomers on their defensive line this season.
Four free agents: DE-Margus Hunt, NT-Al Woods, DT-Johnathan Hankins and DT-Josh Boyd.
One draft pick: DT-Grover Stewart
Those are the five obvious new additions.
But two guys returning from injury should also not be forgotten either: DE-Henry Anderson (knee) and DE-Kendall Langford (knee).
Seeing all the new faces begin to work together this time of year has left an impression on Chuck Pagano.
"Defensive line, I feel really good about," Pagano says.
2017 Offseason Program - Phase III - DAY TWO - DL
Of course, Pagano knows the line only has room for three guys on the field at a time.
You have five true newcomers. Plus healthy returnees in Anderson and Langford.
Toss in the likes of David Parry, Hassan Ridgeway, T.Y. McGill and you are going to have a heavy debate along the defensive line when roster cuts arrive in early September.
"We're going to probably say goodbye to some guys that'll end up getting picked up and probably be in a rotation or be starting somewhere," Pagano says of the strength in numbers for the d-line.
"I think that's where we're at right now."
The variety in types of bodies in the defensive trenches is particularly appealing to Pagano.
Mixing and matching certain guys for specific downs and distances should be there for Ted Monachino this fall.
"I feel like we're ahead of where we've ever been as far as guys being able to not only play well against the run but also give you some pass rush on passing downs," Pagano says.
Even the members of the defensive line are echoing what their head coach is saying this time of year.
The pads won't come on for nearly two more months, but the players see some intriguing pieces for a unit so critical to any defensive improvement.
"I feel great about it," Langford says. "As you mentioned, it's on paper, so that really doesn't mean anything. The game still has to be played.
"I do think we will be better this year on the defensive side of the ball than we were the previous years*."
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.*