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Defensive Line Burning Questions Heading Into Colts Training Camp

Intro: We are a little more than two weeks away from the start of the Colts 2017 Training Camp. Our burning questions series is back, with the fifth position look at the defensive line group.


INDIANAPOLIS –The Colts 2017 Training Camp is a little more than two weeks away.

On Saturday, July 29, the Colts will report to work at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, for their first Training Camp “at home” since moving to Indy in 1984.

Over the next week and a half, will take a look at the "Burning Questions" for all position groups heading into the 2017 Training Camp.

Here's a look at the defensive line burning questions with the 2017 season nearing:

  • Where will Johnathan Hankins line up?

Johnathan Hankins is going to be a starter for the Colts in 2017.

Where exactly he lines up along the team's three-man front is the question though entering Training Camp.

Hankins could play nose tackle and/or defensive tackle with the Colts. No matter where he lines up on early downs, he's likely to move around a bit when passing downs arrive.

What is going to impact Hankins' position is how the Colts view their other bodies at NT and DT.

At defensive tackle, could Henry Anderson or Kendall Langford or even Hassan Ridgway be a starting fit there?

At nose tackle, is newcomer Al Woods worthy of a starting call, or do the Colts still think David Parry can get the job done for a third straight season?

How the depth looks at those two positions is going play a role in the immediate fit for Hankins.

No matter where Hankins lines up in 2017, he's easily one of the most important players on the roster.

STAT TO NOTE: Since Chuck Pagano's arrival in 2012, the Colts have started six different players at nose tackle: David Parry, Josh Chapman, Montori Hughes, Aubrayo Franklin, Antonio Johnson and Martin Tevaseu.

  • Will Henry Anderson and/or Kendall Langford look like their 2015-selves?

The health questions for Henry Anderson are behind him.

Anderson participated in the team's offseason program. He's ready to go in 2017.

With Langford, he was sidelined for all of the spring due to the knee injury that sent him to injured reserve midway through the 2016 season.

Neither player was at their normal self last season, which contributed to the defensive struggles.

For the defense to rise from the basement of NFL rankings, the unit would be well served to have Anderson and Langford back to full health.

The defensive line can be a real strength for the Colts in 2017.

But in order for that to happen, they need healthy returns from Anderson and Langford.

STAT TO NOTE: When Kendall Langford went on IR last year, it ended his streak of 135 straight games played, which was the longest active run for any NFL defensive lineman.

  • How will roster cuts play out along the defensive line?

Normally, a team would keep six to seven defensive linemen on their 53-man roster.

Let's say the Colts have Johnathan Hankins, Henry Anderson, Kendall Langford leading the position group.

Hassan Ridgeway (who will return from off-season shoulder surgery for Training Camp) and Grover Stewart are two recent fourth-round picks who have to be favorites for roster spots.

That's five guys.

Does that mean the Colts have one spot for nose tackles Al Woods or David Parry?

Would that leave just one spot from this group: Woods/Parry, Margus Hunt, T.Y. McGill and Josh Boyd?

Inevitably, the Colts are going to have to cut some quality talent along their defensive front.

Predicting who is in and who is out is no easy task until we see the full pads come on during Training Camp.

STAT TO NOTE: David Parry is one of just two second-year defensive lineman to have not missed a game in the NFL.

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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