The defensive front is a major off-season need for the Indianapolis Colts. Enter Denico Autry, who signed a three-year, $17.8 million deal Wednesday according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. His new contract carries with it $6.5 million in guaranteed money.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2018
The 27-year-old played for the Oakland Raiders during his first four seasons in the league. Though he only made three starts in 2017, he provided a noticeable impact while on the field. His five sacks were third on the team behind Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin while he also finished third in tackles among Raiders defensive linemen.
Indy’s protracted issues at creating pressure in pass situations are well-documented. The team finished with a paltry 25 sacks last season, the second-worst total in the league behind only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As Rapoport hinted at above, there are people among the Colts’ brass who think Autry can play a significant role in rectifying their pass rush issues.
Autry was not selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, signing as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders in May of that year. Though he didn’t make a single start that year, he did appear in the final 10 games of the season after making his debut in Week Eight against the Cleveland Browns. Over the next two seasons, he played in 30 out of a possible 32 games, starting in 15 of them.
Prior to his pro career, Autry played two seasons at Mississippi State where he finished second on the team with 9.5 tackles for loss as a junior. He came to the Bulldogs after starting off at junior college, helping lead East Mississippi Community College to the NJCAA national title in 2011.
The Colts are in all likelihood far from finished addressing their need on the defensive line, particularly edge rusher. It’s possible that they also look to the 2018 NFL Draft to bolster this element of their personnel. Many mock drafts have the team taking Bradley Chubb with the third overall pick.
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