How do the Colts plan on replacing DE Jabaal Sheard?

The Indianapolis Colts entered the offseason with several decisions to make. One of them included what to do with veteran defensive end Jabaal Sheard, whose contract ended following the 2019 season.

The Colts decided to pass on bringing Sheard back and are focused on developing the younger talent in the room. The team isn’t quite sure how they will replace Sheard’s role, but defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus sees a few players vying for that starting position.

“Well, I think that is up in the air right now in terms of we have all those young guys in there that could potentially take that spot over – (Ben) Banogu or (Kemoko) Turay,” Eberflus said Friday in a conference call. “We’re potentially moving (Denico) Autry out at some and Ty (Tyquan) Lewis will be out there some. So there will be three or four guys that will be competing for that position.”

Turay and Banogu are the young talents that have Colts fans excited. Both bring athleticism, speed and flexibility to the edge. Those are three traits that Sheard didn’t have being more of a power rusher. But Turay was on his way to a breakout season in 2019 before an ankle injury ended his campaign in Week 6 against the Chiefs.

Banogu flashed during the limited playing time he had throughout his rookie campaign. But his athleticism and bend make him an intriguing option on early downs to be a run-stopper.

After the Colts didn’t make any big improvements to the defensive end room, it became known that both Autry and Lewis will be competing on the edge as well. While Autry already has his roster spot likely locked up, Lewis is another question. He has to prove he belongs on the 53-man before his role on the defense.

Both players will have the chance to compete for a role on the edge when training camp commences.

“What’s beneficial about Denico (Autry) is that he’s played inside and out. Also, Tyquan (Lewis) has played inside and out, right and left,” Eberflus said. “So to have those guys that are not necessarily flex players, but in a sense flex players that they can go in and out.”

There are going to be some interesting developments to watch on the defensive side of the ball during training camp. How the team plans on replacing a vacated starting role will be one of them.

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