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Samson Ebukam on joining Colts' D-line: 'I gotta elevate my game even more'

Ebukam was part of an attacking, disruptive defensive line with the San Francisco 49ers – and sees the same mindset and effectiveness in the Colts' D-line. 

A few details and nuances may be different, but the directive for both the San Francisco 49ers' and Colts' defensive lines is the same: Attack, attack, attack.

Ebukam primarily played wide-nine defensive end (1,189 of 1,338 D-line snaps, per Pro Football Focus) in his two seasons with the 49ers. The Colts, under defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and defensive line coach Nate Ollie, mainly play their defensive ends in that wide-nine technique, meaning the defensive ends line up outside an attached tight end, or well outside an uncovered tackle.

From 2021-2022 with the 49ers, Ebukam totaled 9 1/2 sacks, 24 quarterback hits and 86 total pressures in 32 games.

"It's easy. I don't have to think, I just kind of go," Ebukam said. "If you eliminate the thinking out of the game for the D-linemen, they play a lot better, play faster and we can just mess things up in the front and whoever's in the back can clean it up."

While Ebukam said he's "pissed" he didn't have more sacks in San Francisco, he's confident they're coming – but also understands he can impact the game by disrupting opposing quarterbacks with hurries and hits. Against the run, he he can't get a tackle for a loss/no gain, he can blow up things in the trenches to allow linebackers like Zaire Franklin or Shaquille Leonard to make a play.

"It might not add up on the stat sheet for me, but I know that it's going to help us win the game," Ebukam said. "And if I can help win the game, that's what I'm all about."

Ebukam helped the 49ers win quite a bit during his time there – San Francisco reached consecutive NFC Championship games and went 23-11 over the last two seasons. Prior to joining the 49ers, Ebukam spent four years with the Los Angeles Rams, who reached Super Bowl LIII and made the playoffs in three of his four seasons there.

Over his six seasons with the Rams and 49ers, Ebukam has played alongside some of the NFL's biggest D-line stars – Aaron Donald, Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead to name a few. With the Colts, he'll play next to an established, top-level defensive tackle duo of DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart, and with promising young defensive ends like Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo.

"I've watched film of them a lot," Ebukam said. "We sang high praises of them when I was back with the 49ers just to see their effort and how well they play together. And just to be a part of that, I gotta elevate my game even more. I'm excited to just to be in the room with them. I've heard a lot about them and heard they're real genuine dudes. It's going to be awesome to be a part of."

The 27-year-old Ebukam joins the Colts after spending the last six seasons with the Los Angeles Rams (2017-2020) and San Francisco 49ers (2021-2022). Ebukam has 23 1/2 sacks, 52 quarterback hits and 28 tackles for a loss in 96 games (61 starts) with the Rams and 49ers.

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