INDIANAPOLIS —The Indianapolis Colts have gone defense in their first free agent addition of the 2018 new league year.
The team announced today it has signed free agent defensive end Denico Autry.
Autry, who will turn 28 in July, was signed by the Oakland Raiders in May 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State, and has spent the last four seasons in Oakland improving each step of the way both on defense and as a leader on special teams.
In 2015, his second year in the league, Autry — who stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 273 pounds — saw action in 14 games with eight starts, posting 29 tackles with three sacks and four passes defensed, but also led the NFL with three blocked kicks on special teams, which were the most blocks in a season by a single player since 2011.
Last season, despite starting just three games, Autry was able to collect a career-best 36 tackles, five sacks and seven passes defensed. In four seasons, he has combined to play in 56 games with 18 starts, collecting 100 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 12 passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and causing one safety.
Autry's mix of size and playmaking ability off the edge seems to fit in well with the Colts' plan to switch to the 4-3 base defense under new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
"Really the major shift is that we want athletic, speed players that possess quickness, instincts and striking ability," Eberflus said in a recent Town Hall event for Colts season ticket members. "And you should see that on the field. So you're going to see more speed, more quickness, more athletic ability, and those are the guys that we're going to want to acquire through the draft, through free agency, and those will be the type of players that we have on our team. So that's the major shift that you'll see."
Autry is the first newcomer signed to the Colts in the 2018 new league year, which began at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Former Colts players from the 2017 roster officially becoming unrestricted free agents on Wednesday include wide receiver Kamar Aiken, inside linebacker Jon Bostic, safety Darius Butler, cornerback Pierre Desir, running back Frank Gore, cornerback Rashaan Melvin, guard Jack Mewhort, running back Christine Michael, outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, center Mike Person, quarterback Scott Tolzien and tight end Brandon Williams.