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Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke was…

2 min read
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke was...



“Yeah, I think we probably did use him a little bit more. We trust Bobby. Bobby is one of those guys that executes well, has high functional intelligence, plays the game at a high rate and learns at a high rate. He is one of the guys that we put in there and increased his role,” Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus told reporters at the end of the season.

“You do different things with different guys. Sometimes you have a bigger-type body that you might set him on the line of scrimmage more. He might function as more of a defensive end or you have Bobby who is more of an off-the-ball linebacker where you put him in space, put him in the bubble and play him that way. It all depends on what they bring to the table,” Eberflus continued. “Bobby does a nice job in space. He is a good space-player. He is able to adjust his body, move in space and understand angles. He has done a nice job that way.”

Okereke started 8-of-16 games as a rookie, amassing 58 tackles (two for loss), 1.0 sack, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovered, two pass breakups, one quarterback hit, and he intercepted and returned a two-point conversion attempt for points. He was credited with only five missed tackles throughout the season, according to PFF, which ranked fourth fewest among qualifying linebackers.

Touted for his range and abilities in pass defense, Okereke allowed the second-fewest yards per reception among rookie linebackers (7.4), the third-fewest yards after catch (120) and the fourth-best opponent passer rating (102.0). Overall, he ranked 10th among NFL off-ball linebackers in coverage with a grade of 79.2.

Although the Colts already have an incredibly promising nucleus at linebacker with Leonard — the two-time All-Pro — and Walker with their back-to-back 100-tackle campaigns, the need to get Okereke on the field with them will only continue to grow as he develops going into Year 2.

“Bobby Okereke, he’s got somethin’ real special in his body,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said at his end-of-season press conference. “I think you saw the flashes.”

https://www.colts.com/news/bobby-okereke-top-rookie-linebacker-2019-pro-football-focus

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