All NFL training camps begin in less than three weeks, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still roster moves each team can make. Sometimes, the best way a team can get better is by trading a player away.
With that in mind, NFL writer Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report identified one player each NFL team should consider dealing to another team before the start of the 2022 season. That player for the Indianapolis Colts was defensive end Ben Banogu.
“[Chris] Ballard chose the edge defender in the second round in 2019 after Banogu posted an elite relative athletic score during the predraft process, per Pro Football Network’s Kent Lee Platte,” Sobleski wrote. “Unfortunately, his raw athleticism hasn’t translated to the field.
“In three seasons, he has managed 2.5 sacks. To be fair, the edge-rusher has dealt with ankle and hamstring injuries. But the Colts reached the point where they needed more from the position.”
ALL the latest Colts news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Colts newsletter here!
Banogu Underachieving as an NFL Pass Rusher
In addition to only 2.5 sacks, Banogu has just 3 tackles for loss, 6 quarterback hits and 19 combined tackles in 34 career games. He doesn’t have a sack and has only 1 quarterback hit in his last 23 contests.
Banogu struggled so badly each of the last two seasons that he lost his roster spot. He was a healthy scratch for long stretches in 2020 and 2021.
During 2021, Banogu played a career-low 68 defensive snaps, which was just 12% of Indianapolis’ snaps on defense the entire season.
Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Banogu has one season remaining to prove himself in Indianapolis. But Sobleski writes it wouldn’t be the worst idea for both sides to have fresh starts before this fall.
“Maybe the Colts will try to see if Banogu’s potential finally materializes this season,” Sobleski wrote. “Or they can move him on a low-level deal since their group of defensive ends is far more stable today than it was entering the offseason.”
Colts Added Defensive Ends in Offseason
As Sobleski indicated, Indianapolis may not need to count on Bangou for even 68 defensive snaps this season because of the additions the team made along the edge. The Colts traded for Yannick Ngakoue in March and then signed free agent Ifeadi Odenigbo in June.
Ngakoue, who made the Pro Bowl in 2017, has posted at least 8.0 sacks in each of his first six NFL seasons. He will enter training camp as the team’s projected top pass rusher.
A former seventh-round pick, Odenigbo doesn’t have the same pedigree as Ngakoue. But he did record 7.0 sacks off the bench for the Minnesota Vikings in 2019. His production drastically fell the last two seasons, but he’s still another guy who is expected to be a significant part of the defensive line rotation in Indianapolis.
Furthermore, second-year defensive linemen Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo are in line for more snaps. Add it all up, and Bangou could be expendable.
What NFL teams may be interested in a reclamation project along the edge who has just one year left on his contract remains to be seen. But it wouldn’t hurt to see what kind of market Bangou possesses on the trade market.