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Very New-Look Outside Linebacker Group Coming For Colts

Intro: No position group has seen more roster upheaval than the outside linebackers this offseason. How different will the outside linebackers look in 2017?


INDIANAPOLIS – It's not often you see such turnover in a single position group from one season to the next.

But the Colts are experiencing one at outside linebacker.

From age and name, the Colts are going to look a whole lot different at outside linebacker in 2017.

Gone are Robert Mathis (35), Erik Walden (31) and Trent Cole (34).

In are Jabaal Sheard (27), John Simon (26) and Barkevious Mingo (26).

With those moves, the Colts have gotten younger by an average of seven years per outside linebacker.

They also must replace 17 of the team's 33 sacks from last season.

Coming into the 2017 offseason, the Colts knew things were going to change quite a bit at a position they are still searching for the next dominant pass rusher.

What the Colts have done so far in free agency at outside linebacker does not (and should not) eliminate the idea of still taking one in the early rounds of April's NFL Draft.

But they have added the young, competitive talent that Chris Ballard wanted to this offseason.

Sheard is the most accomplished of the new trio.

After six years in the NFL, Sheard comes to Indianapolis after being a rotational outside linebacker the Patriots used in capturing the Super Bowl.

In two seasons with the Patriots, Sheard had 13.0 sacks in nine starts. If more playing time comes in Indy, will that ratio lead to a double-digit sack season?

Simonis a player the Colts should know pretty well.

He's played for the Texans the last three years and his first NFL season was in Baltimore, where current Colts DC-Ted Monachino was Simon's position coach.

The word "physical" is often used to describe Simon's play, so his presence on run downs could be his strongest asset.

Mingo is the sort of signing that you often see in free agency.

A former high pick (6th overall in 2013) struggles to live up to that billing, but another team signs him trying to tap into that potential.

If nothing else, Mingo should serve a roll on special teams.

From Mathis/Walden/Cole to Sheard/Simon/Mingo, it's virtually an entirely different makeup at outside linebacker group.

Will this bunch be adding another new body come late April?

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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