Colts defensive lineman Fili Moala is headed to the Injured Reserve list for the second time in three seasons. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Moala has a partial ACL tear after colliding with a teammate during OTAs earlier today.
To fill the empty spot, Indianapolis signed rookie UDFA defensive end Gannon Conway (6-4, 280) from Arizona State.
After missing half of the 2012 season due to an ACL tear, Moala returned last season and played in all 16 games, starting 6 and netting a +0.5 grade from PFF (slightly above average, which is indicative of a very solid backup). He finished with 19 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a pass deflection, playing his way into a second consecutive one-year deal.
This is a big setback for Moala, who had worked his way into an important role in the Colts’ defensive line rotation in recent years after a quiet rookie season, but it also thins down the defensive end depth a bit.
Moala would’ve been playing behind Cory Redding on the left side. 337-pound free agent signee Arthur Jones is still listed on that side, though he may also play quite a bit of NT and DT (pure speculation). Behind them are rookie 5th round pick Jonathan Newsome, who looks more like an OLB based on his size (6-3, 251 pounds), and UDFAs Ndami Obukwelu (6-3, 303) and Tyler Hoover (6-7, 297), and Conway.
Last year, Indianapolis had three DE’s and two DT’s at the end of the season. Jones and Redding are going to be on the field quite a bit, provided they stay healthy, but the Colts like to rotate their D-linemen, so someone, possibly a player who can play more than one position up front, will need to step up.
Meanwhile, here is a quick scouting video of Conway at Arizona State:
Best of luck to Fili Moala with his recovery and whatever lies ahead (he is a free agent in 2015).
Quick notes from yesterday:
The Colts shuffled a couple preseason roster spots yesterday as well, waiving center Thomas Austin and signing receiver Greg Moore. From Colts.com:
Moore, 6-4, 197 pounds, was originally signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent on May 13, 2014 and was waived on May 19. He finished the 2013 season at Lane College with 59 catches for 910 yards and 11 touchdowns en route to All-SIAC accolades. He also had three 100-yard receiving contests. Moore started 10 games as a freshman in junior college at Mesabi Range before transferring to Lane and starting nine contests as a sophomore.
Austin played in one game in 2013, seeing action in a Week 16 contest at Kansas City (12/22). For his career, he has competed in eight games, making one start. Austin was originally signed by the Colts as a free agent on August 1, 2013 before being signed to the practice squad on September 1. He was signed to a Reserve/Future contract on January 13, 2014.