The Colts drafted Ben Banogu with the 49th overall pick, projecting him as the strongside linebacker in their 4-3. Banogu’s time at linebacker was short-lived, however.
He worked there during the rookie minicamp before moving to defensive end for the rest of the offseason program, Kevin Bowen of 1070 The Fan reports.
“We thought that moving him now to play end is probably the best starting point for him relative to who he is, what he brings to the table and where can he impact our defense the most, the earliest,” defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said, via Bowen. “We looked at him a little bit in drill work [at linebacker]. We kept looking at him. We put all of our heads together; it was the whole defensive staff. It was [G.M.] Chris [Ballard]. It was [head coach] Frank [Reich]. Then we decided, ‘Hey, let’s put him here [at defensive end], and then we can build it from there.’ Can he do different things and put him in different spots? No question he can do that. But let’s get his feet on solid ground at one spot and then kind of develop him from there.”
The Colts are using Bruce Irvin‘s old role in Seattle as a comparison for the rookie. Although he played defensive end at TCU, Banogu said it isn’t the same defense with the same responsibilities.
“TCU is more of a gap-control read defense, so it’s a lot more reading,” Banogu said. “This defense is more attacking, so it’s kind of cool in the respect that you kind of have free flow. You don’t have to read as much, and you don’t have to do a lot of checks.
“This is more attacking. So it’s a little bit different.”
Still, for now, the Colts see Banogu as a better fit at defensive end than at strongside linebacker.