It's never too late to add a run-stuffing defensive lineman to an inexperienced front if you're the Indianapolis Colts.
A few hours after head coach Chuck Pagano said his team had completed physical preparations for Sunday's season opener at Buffalo, the Colts acquired defensive lineman Billy Winn from the Cleveland Browns Friday for a conditional, late-round 2017 draft choice.
The timing is a bit unusual, considering the team hops a plane Saturday, but it speaks to the Colts seeing a need to bolster a defensive line that had only one of six guys with any NFL starting experience. Winn, a sixth-round pick in 2012, has played in 40 games including 18 starts. He's made 87 tackles, including 57 solos, with three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, five passes defended and two interceptions.
In sticking with a recent theme of the Colts desiring versatility, the 6-4, 300-pound Winn can play any of the defensive line positions in the 3-4 scheme. He played mostly defensive end last season.
Winn, 26, is regarded as a solid defender against the run, something the Colts have continually tried to address in the wake of blowout losses to the New England Patriots in back-to-back postseasons. He impressed the Browns as a rookie before dropping on the depth chart under second-year head coach Mike Pettine. Winn's 2013 head coach was Rob Chudzinski, who enters his second season as a Colts assistant and was recently promoted to associate head coach.
On Sunday, the Colts claimed undrafted rookie defensive tackle T.Y. McGill off waivers from Seattle to boost their numbers to six defensive linemen. Adding a seventh player to that position group suggests the Colts weren't satisfied with what they had. And that's understandable, considering the team is expected to start rookie Henry Anderson at defensive tackle (although defensive end is his natural position) as well as rookie David Parry at nose tackle against the Bills.
The backups are second-year pro Zach Kerr, a defensive tackle who played in 12 games as an undrafted rookie reserve, and first-year pro Earl Okine, a defensive end who played semi-pro and arena football last season.
The lone experienced defender up front is defensive end Kendall Langford, who was signed during March free agency and has never missed a game in 112 appearances, including 90 starts.
How quickly Winn can get up to speed is uncertain, but considering the Colts' concerns about depth at the position, don't be surprised if the newcomer plays right away as a reserve.
Winn tweeted on Twitter: "Just want to thank the entire Browns organization for 3 GREAT years. It's been awesome. Next stop #Indy #Colts."
To make room for Winn, the Colts waived offensive guard Robert Myers, who had been claimed off waivers from Baltimore on Sunday. The Colts also waived running back Dan Herron from injured reserve. Herron suffered a shoulder injury in the preseason finale.
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