The Indianapolis Colts have made several quality additions to their roster this offseason. While the hope is that those moves will propel the Colts to their first AFC South division title since 2014, the additions will also make it harder for players from the 2021 Colts roster to earn playing time.
NFL writer John Alfieri of USA Today predicts that seven Indianapolis players will be in jeopardy of losing their jobs during 2022. Most notably, Alfieri included defensive end Ben Banogu among those seven players.
“Banogu’s time in Indy has been underwhelming since he was drafted in 2019. He has only recorded 2.5 sacks in his career and less than 20 total tackles,” Alfieri wrote. “Edge rusher was a huge need for the Colts this offseason, and with the arrival of Yannick Ngakoue via trade, the edge rusher room is getting a bit crowded.
“This is a big season for Banogu because he’s going into a contract year and with the new additions, he’ll need a strong showing at training camp.”
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Lack of Production for 2019 Second-Round Pick Ben Banogu
The Colts drafted three players in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. First, they took cornerback Rock Ya-Sin at No. 34 overall. Indianapolis finished the round selecting Banogu and wide receiver Parris Campbell at No. 49 and 59 overall, respectively.
Both Banogu and Campbell have struggled to justify their top 60 selections. While Campbell has dealt with injuries throughout his career, Banogu has struggled to remain on the field even when healthy.
The defensive end played in all 16 games as a rookie, but he’s been a healthy scratch for long stretches of the past two seasons. Banogu has played under 20% of the Colts’ defensive snaps each of the last two years.
He played a career-low 68 snaps in 2021, which was only 12% of the team’s snaps on defense the entire season.
In April, NFL writer Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report called Banogu the worst draft pick by the Colts over the last five years.
Banogu’s Potential Role for 2022 Colts
It’s a little ironic that the Colts will be pushing Banogu down the depth chart with defensive Yannick Ngakoue, who Indianapolis acquired in a trade for Ya-Sin, one of the Colts’ other second-round picks from 2019.
In addition to Ngakoue, Indianapolis has edge rushers Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo, who the team is expecting to make bigger impacts this season. The Colts drafted Paye and Odeyingbo in the first and second rounds, respectively, of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Banogu will likely have to show major improvement during training camp in order to earn playing time. He may need to do that to even make the roster.
In three seasons, Bangou has posted 2.5 sacks, 3.0 tackles for loss and 6 quarterback hits. He also has 19 combined tackles, 1 pass defense and 1 forced fumble.
The other six players Alfieri included on his list of Colts players who could see their jobs in jeopardy during 2022 were wide receivers Ashton Dulin and Dezmon Patmon, cornerback Marvel Tell III, running back Deon Jackson, tackle Matt Pryor and kicker Rodrigo Blankenship.