Colts Select TCU Linebacker Ben Banogu In Round Two Of NFL Draft
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts didn’t wait too long to dip into the deep defensive front class in 2019.
With the 49th pick of 2019 NFL Draft, the Colts selected TCU defensive end/linebacker Ben Banogu. This pick came after the Colts traded back from No. 46 overall with the Cleveland Browns. Indy received the 144th overall pick (5th round) from Cleveland for moving back three spots.
Here are 3 thoughts on the Colts drafting Banogu:
1. Elite Level Athlete
Ben Banogu, who stands 6-4 and 249 pounds, had an eye-popping Combine in February.
He set a Combine record for defensive linemen with an 11-2 broad jump. He also jumped 40 inches in the vertical jump, which was the top at that position. That’s an explosive athlete.
That athleticism could lead to some intriguing possibilities from the Colts, who had ample contact with Banogu throughout the draft process.
In two years at TCU, Banogu had 34.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks. He was the Big-12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2017, after transferring from Louisiana-Monroe, with 16.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
2. Versatile Piece In Defensive Front
On a conference call with local media on Friday, Banogu made it clear that he’s received some linebacker chatter from the Colts. Chris Ballard said after Friday's picks that they will first try Banogu at SAM linebacker, but see other areas where he can be used, as well.
Banogu didn’t play linebacker in college at TCU, but did drill there during the Senior Bowl.
Many draft pundits projected Banogu as a 3-4 rush linebacker in this process, so it will be interesting to see how the Colts decide to plug him in.
The athletic traits stand out, but some development will be needed if the Colts want to explore the linebacker possibilities. Banogu said the Colts told him they could see him lining up next to Darius Leonard down the road.
The production from Banogu, as a pure rusher, in the Big-12 was certainly notable.
3. Another Try At Rusher?
While we wait to see the exact fit for Banogu, his pass rushing numbers in college means a third straight year that the Colts have taken a guy with an edge rushing background in one of the first three rounds.
Could Banogu be an option to put his hand in the ground on passing downs?
On paper, and given what Banogu said on Friday, this selection isn't the definite right defensive end piece that the Colts are still looking for long-term.
Still, the pass rush pedigree is there as the Colts look to improve the type of packages that can be dialed up on third down by Matt Eberflus.
Colts Draft Recap