Is Erik Walden On Verge Of First Career Pro Bowl?

Intro: Erik Walden and his 7.0 sacks are worthy of Pro Bowl consideration with seven weeks remaining in 2016. Walden’s career year is coming in his ninth NFL season.


INDIANAPOLIS – Arguably the loudest player in the Colts' locker room has also made plenty of noise on the field in 2016.

In his ninth NFL season, Erik Walden is turning in a career year when the Colts have needed it the most.

Desperate for someone to get to the quarterback in 2016, and finish off those precious chances, Walden has done that.

Walden's 7.0 sacks, which he rightfully attributes to his fellow defenders for helping create those opportunities, ranks eighth in the NFL.

The biggest pusher for Walden's Pro Bowl candidacy is fellow edge rusher Robert Mathis.

"He put the work in and I think his performance this year is not being talked about enough," Mathis says of Walden.

"He's playing lights out. He earns it. He comes to work and brings his lunch pail. He puts the work in everyday, mental, physical. he's one of the quiet leaders on the team. I'm probably the biggest fan right now, probably happier than he is that he's making plays and getting sacks and he deserves it."

Even though Walden's voice is impossible to miss inside the Indy locker room, ask him about his career-year and he curls up in a ball.

Walden knows that the coverage at the back end has contributed to several of his sacks in 2016.

But someone still has to cap those plays, and Walden has done that at a very high rate this year.

Through nine games, Walden has 7.0 sacks and two forced fumbles. Only three other players in the NFL have higher numbers in both categories.

The aggressive nature in which Walden plays with is something defenders rave about.

His intensity might be unmatched among his teammates.

What Ted Monachino witnessed on tape this offseason in learning about his new defensive personnel has turned into a possible Pro Bowl season for No. 93.

"I always knew that he was a tough, effort-filled football player. I didn't know what he was mentally," Monachino says of Walden. "The guy is a star from a mental standpoint and the bell cow of that group from a leadership standpoint.

"The thing that you know about him is he is always going to be very cerebral in his approach, but when the ball gets snapped, he is going to be a physical force that they have to tend to. As a pass rusher, Erik is not simply an effort rusher or a physical power rusher. He has a little variety as a pass rusher and he's been very productive for us – seven sacks through nine games is productive for a guy in his position, especially on the (strong) side. The more one-on-ones Erik gets, the more chances he has to win so we are trying to create as many one-on-one opportunities for Erik as we can."

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