Colts Searching For Pass Rushers In Undrafted Free Agent Class

Intro: As the Colts try to continue to extend their NFL-long streak of an undrafted free agent on the team’s opening day roster, the outside linebacker position group is one to watch this offseason.

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INDIANAPOLIS – They come trying to be the next Mike Adams, or even a Tyler Varga, or Jonotthan Harrison.

When it comes to undrafted free agents finding NFL landing spots, the Colts have been very kind to finding such under the radar prospects.

For 17 straight years, the Colts have had at least one undrafted rookie on their opening day roster (the longest such streak in the NFL).

A position that could certainly be infused with helping continue that streak in 2016 is outside linebacker.

It's no secret the Colts are in the market for grooming a young pass rusher, or two.

The Colts currently have just three outside linebackers with NFL experience on the roster.

Robert Mathis, Erik Walden and Trent Cole are all into their 30s. All are also entering the final season of their respective contracts.

This sort of situation made for an attractive option to edge rushers in the undrafted free agency pool.

"I always knew if things didn't work out (in the draft) that was a team I would be looking at right away with their situation of needing a pass rusher," undrafted free agent Ron Thompson of Syracuse said of the Colts.

"I know what I can bring to their team so it was kind of an easy marriage."

Pagano is already seeing some flashes from that group.

"High-motor guys. They have a skillset rushing the passer," Pagano said on Saturday. "Guys are long, they're athletic, they've got burst, they can close, they're rugged, they play with toughness. They were well-coached and they've got some tools in their box that should enable them to get to the passer so we really like them.

"Unfortunately, Curt (Maggitt) comes in here dinged up and didn't get to participate because he's coming off of a hip injury, but we're excited based on the tape what we have in that kid."

Along with seventh-round pick Trevor Bates, here are two undrafted names to keep an eye on in the pass-rushing department.OLB-Curt Maggitt (Tennessee): This Combine invitee is one of several edge rushers the Colts have amongst their undrafted group of free agents. Maggitt had 11.0 sacks in 2014, but a hip injury after just two games in 2015 ended his final season in Knoxville. The hip injury for Maggitt has him still in rehab mode during rookie minicamp.OLB-Ron Thompson Jr. (Syracuse): Leaving school a year early, Thompson could be an edge option after 7.0 sacks and four forced fumbles last season. Thompson played as a down lineman, in a 4-3 defense at Syracuse, but believes the transition won't be too difficult for the 3-4 outside linebacker role.

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