Should The Colts Pursue Pro Bowl Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy?
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INDIANAPOLIS – Entering the 2019 offseason, the Colts defensive line combined for zero Pro Bowl nods among their entire bunch.
Will the group have 10 Pro Bowl total selections in their room by Week One?
If so, that means Gerald McCoy and his 6 Pro Bowls will be a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
McCoy hit the free agency market earlier this week, after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally thought his $13 million price tag was too much. The Bucs are undergoing a schematic change to their 3-4 defense, a system that the 31-year-old McCoy has never played in during 9 NFL seasons.
So, a new home is needed for a 6-time Pro Bowler who has still shown a consistent pass rushing ability even as his age has climbed and has remained durable.
The Colts enter the final phase of their offseason program without many questions about positional depth.
But the defensive tackle group is one that remains a bit of an unknown.
Chris Ballard feels good about the group, even though it lacks multiple wide bodies typically needed to impact run downs.
It’s a group filled with more versatile bodies. Starting defensive tackles Denico Autry and Margus Hunt have played some defensive end before in Indy.
McCoy (6-4, 300 pounds) has notable size and his quickness---a vital component to any part of the Colts defense---which has helped him reach the 5.0 sack mark in each of the last 7 seasons.
On paper though, the Colts likely need more help at the ‘other’ defensive tackle spot, where Hunt or Grover Stewart (333 pound) likely will be this fall. McCoy has always been a three-technique defensive tackle, and that’s where the Colts currently have Autry, Tyquan Lewis and Jihad Ward. While McCoy would still bolster things there, the need is probably more pressing for the Colts at the other defensive tackle position. The Colts love what Autry gave them last year, 9 sacks in 12 games, plus they are high on Lewis (a second-round pick in 2018) and Ward (a second-round pick in 2016).
However, one injury at defensive tackle would definitely hurt a group that’s not one of the deepest on the roster.
Away from the playing field, the Colts and McCoy each offer something that the other holds in high regard, which backs up the Wednesday report from CBS4's Mike Chappell of the Colts having interest in McCoy.
McCoy wants to go to a winner, as he’s never experienced postseason football since being drafted No. 3 overall in 2010 by Tampa Bay. The Colts are coming off a 10-win season, that included a road playoff victory. They are widely expected to be one of the best teams in the AFC this fall.
For a player garnering the amount of money that McCoy will on the open market, the Colts have a lofty character requirement needed. By all accounts, McCoy brings an extremely high character, as a 6-time captain and the 2018 Bucs Man of the Year. Colts defensive line coach Mike Phair coached McCoy in 2014, so there’s plenty of familiarity for the type of pro and person the Colts would be getting.
From a character, scheme, pass rush standpoint McCoy checks the boxes.
From an age or massive body/run stuffing need, McCoy doesn’t satisfy those desires.
Cap space is not an issue for a Colts team carrying around $58 million this late into the offseason.
The Justin Houston (4-time Pro Bowler) addition addressed an unquestioned requirement off the edge.
Adding Gerald McCoy (6-time Pro Bowler) would be more of a luxury, but still would improve a position group that is without sure-fire depth.
Pass rush was the biggest need for the Colts entering the offseason so the pursuit of another one, with high character, makes sense for Ballard.