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Colts Getting Younger Quickly On Defense

Intro: Sticking to their off-season mantra, the Colts are getting younger, especially on the defensive side of the ball. How much younger have the Colts gotten since the end of the 2016 season?


INDIANAPOLIS – Actions speak louder than words, and the Colts are backing up what they said their off-season plan would be in 2017.

At this year's NFL Combine, Chuck Pagano and Chris Ballard didn't reveal their entire hopes for the upcoming offseason.

But they were on the same page in talking about one aspect of the roster.

"We need to add young, competitive talent," Ballard said.

"We are here to build the roster, get younger, get faster," Pagano added.

When those two spoke at the Combine, the Colts had already seen Robert Mathis, 36, enter retirement.

D'Qwell Jackson, 33, had also been released a few weeks earlier.

That was just the beginning of the massive defensive overhaul we've seen the Colts go under since the end of the 2016 season.

Gone from the defense are six starters, all of whom were at least 29 years old last year.

  • Robert Mathis (36):The franchise's all-time sack leader retired after 192 career games with the Colts. Mathis had 5.0 sacks for the Colts in 2016.
  • D'Qwell Jackson (33):The Colts decided that it was time to turn the page at inside linebacker. Jackson, a three-year starter at ILB, was released in February.
  • Mike Adams (35):Just prior to the start of free agency, the Colts informed Adams he would not be returning. Adams started 44 games for the Colts over the last three years. Last Friday, Adams signed a two-year contract with Carolina.
  • Erik Walden (31):There will be plenty of new faces at outside linebacker in 2017. Walden, the Colts' top sack man in 2016, remains on the free agent market.
  • Trent Cole (34):Cole is part of a departing group that accounted for 21.5 of the team's 33.0 sacks last season. Like Walden, Cole is still a free agent.
  • Darius Butler (30):Since coming to the Colts in early October of 2012, Butler has started 20 games at cornerback and safety. The Colts let Butler hit free agency, further transitioning to a younger, yet more inexperienced, secondary.
  • Patrick Robinson (29):Robinson's tenure in Indianapolis lasted seven games and one season. How much different will things look in the Indy secondary next year? The Colts are now without their No. 2 and 3 cornerbacks (Robinson, Butler) and a starting safety (Adams) from 2016.

Last year, the Colts entered the 2016 season with the fourth oldest roster in the NFL.

Safe to say that will be changing a bit this fall.

The analysis from those producing content on does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

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