INDIANAPOLIS – From the end of the 2016 season through March 2017, the Colts saw seven defenders, all over the age of 29, walk out the door.
Each of the seven was a 2016 starter at some point during the season.
The moves were a clear message from the Colts: We have to get younger on defense.
Through free agency and the draft, the Colts have held true to their word.
A lot younger.
Here is a look at how much younger the Colts will be on defense this coming season:
- 2016 DL-Arthur Jones (30) vs. 2017 DL-Johnathan Hankins (25)
- 2016 OLB-Erik Walden (31) vs. 2017 OLB-John Simon (26)
- 2016 OLB-Trent Cole (34) vs. 2017 OLB-Tarell Basham (23)
- 2016 OLB-Robert Mathis (35) vs. 2017 OLB-Jabaal Sheard (28)
- 2016 ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (33) vs. 2017 ILB-Sean Spence/Jon Bostic (26)
- 2016 CB-Patrick Robinson (29) vs. 2017 CB-Quincy Wilson (20)
- 2016 S-Mike Adams (35) vs. S-Malik Hooker (21)
Of these seven positions, the Colts are now an average of more than eight years younger at each spot.
In 2016, the Colts had the fourth-oldest roster in the NFL. They will undoubtedly have one of the younger ones this coming season.
Words turned into action by Chris Ballard.
"We had some older players on defense that were great, that were great Colts," Ballard said during the draft. "But it was time to move on and find some younger players.
"We have a lot of new faces and it will take this group some time. But we think we have added some young players on the roster that can grow together and become the defense we want them to be."
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