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Indianapolis Colts Greatest Defensive Tacklers In History – Indianapolis Colts Best Defensive Tacklers Of All-Time

The Colts originated from the dissolved Dallas Texans NFL team in 1953. There had been two professional football teams with the name Baltimore Colts before 1953, and continued fan support in the Baltimore area led the NFL to approve the purchase and relocation of the defunct Texans by the Baltimore-based owners.



The  Best Defensive Tacklers

Bernard Whittington

The Colts assembled a number of solid defensive tackles who started for an extended period of time. Whittington spent time at left defensive end and tackle, starting for six of his seven seasons and compiling 12 sacks and 376 tackles in 79 starts.

Jon Hand

The fourth overall pick in the 1986 draft was a long-time standout for the Colts, recording 5 sacks or more five times in his nine-year career. Hand-finished with 35.5 sacks including a career-high 10 in 1989  and 539 tackles in 110 starts at right defensive end in the Colts’ 3-4 defense.



Ellis Johnson

Advice from the audience: Defensive linemen can take time to develop. You hear it about Tyquan Lewis and Ben Bangu now but it was certainly true of Johnson. The 15th overall pick in the 1995 draft didn’t earn a starting role until 1997 but he’d appear in 104 games for the Colts with 33 sacks, 11 passes defensed, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and 270 tackles.


DeForest Buckner

For the second consecutive year, DeForest was recognized Sunday as being among the NFL’s best players.

The 2020 first-team All-Pro defensive tackle checked in at No. 27 in NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2021 ranking. He ranked No. 56 in 2020 on the list, which is voted on by players.

DeForest Buckner had a massive impact on the Colts’ defense after he was acquired in exchange for a first-round pick before the 2020 NFL Draft. Buckner tallied 9 1/2 sacks, 26 quarterback hits and 10 tackles for a loss; he added three pass break-ups and two forced fumbles in 15 games.

According to Pro Football Focus in 2020, the 27-year-old Buckner was also one of four defensive linemen to total 50+ pressures and 35+ run stops.

“When you have a presence like that in the middle, in terms of the 3-technique in our defense and really when you’re strong up the middle in any defense that’s a good thing because it affects the run and it forces double teams to stay on longer in the run game, it forces protection to slide that way in the pass game,” defensive coordinator Matt Ebeflus explained last year.



“There are a lot of things that it does that benefits the linebackers as well as the secondary. So the effect of an interior defensive lineman like DeForest Buckner is really immense when you think about the ripple down effect it has on the run defense and the pass defense.”

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