The Indianapolis Colts will have basically the same look linebacker unit as they did last season. Their only loss was veteran Dwight Freeney to free agency.
Filling Freeney’s spot on the roster will be new addition Erik Walden who was signed from the Green Bay Packers. Walden is much bigger than Freeney as he stands 6-foot-2, 250-pounds. He’s much better at getting to the quarterback from that spot and knows how to drop back in coverage.
The Colts have said they’re actually going to move Robert Mathis to Freeney’s old outside linebacker spot and Walden to where Mathis played last year. The team also signed outside linebacker Lawrence Sidbury, who will likley back up Mathis.
Some holdovers from last year, Jerry Hughes and Justin Hickman, will return as outside linebackers and back up Walden in his spot.
The middle linebackers all return as a three man rotation of the two spots will be common. Jerrell Freeman, Kavell Conner and Pat Angerer all return and will be healthy when the season starts. If all three can keep their health throughout the season, this could be a very scary group.
The Colts still could add another linebacker or two through the draft as I don’t think they’re done with this unit yet. There’s some good options to draft in the first and third rounds, as guys like Sean Porter and Datone Jones could both land in Indianapolis.
Those two are comparable to Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers and Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. Could you imagine if the Colts draft those two with their first two picks of the draft and bring them in for reserve roles? This unit would be set and dominate for the next decade.
It’s looking bright for this team and this is one of a couple of units that still will be addressed.