Dayo Odeyingbo Learning How To Use Length To Help Colts Pass Rush

Only 21 defensive ends drafted since 1999 have had longer arms than Dayo Odeyingbo, whose limbs extend 35 1/4 inches from his body (that’s almost three feet). Its wingspan has been measured in the 99th percentile for edge rushers for the past two decades, according to

The Colts’ message to Odeyingbo over the last month in training camp: You have remarkable length. Use it.

This is Odeyingbo’s first preseason he’s participating in training – last year he was sidelined while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon during practice for the 2021 Senior Bowl. He tried a handful of things with his pass rush early in camp — “Youtube moves,” defensive line coach Nate Ollie joked with him — but lately he’s focused his prep and practice work on developing his power moves.

And Odeyingbo certainly has the length and strength to be a strong pass rusher.

“It’s not always pretty,” Ollie said, “but you write the numbers.”

Because of his arm length, Odeyingbo is usually able to contact an offensive lineman before the O lineman contacts him. This gives him an early advantage once the ball is caught.

“The person who makes contact first generally takes control early,” Odeyingbo said.

From there, Odeyingbo can do a number of things once he gains control: he can manipulate his opponent with his hands, lay down his block, propel them up with power, or use speed to knock them off balance. And because linemen generally can’t get their hands on Odeyingbo’s shoulder pads – again because of his length – he can break off with a block and crash into the quarterback.

“He’s just learning, use my length,” Ollie said. “Use your stabbing movements. You’re tall, 275 (lbs), don’t be afraid to use some strength. And if you want to edit your cross lay, you can set everything to that. You can’t go Try to be a speed rusher and then try to power work.

“(Yannick Ngakoue’s) is a fast guy, so he can work speed, speed, speed and then power. Yan can do that. But (Odeyingbo’s) has to work power, power, power, and if you want to work another movement, then you can do it. But use your length to your advantage.”

So while Odeyingbo is working on making power rushes his fastball, he also needs a change – speed, a cross-chop, that sort of thing so linemen can’t just get stuck on a move.

“You have to kind of marry moves and set up moves, play the chess game,” Odeyingbo said. “Unlike college, where you could do the same move over and over again, or do one thing over and over, and then it will work.”

Results in games so far have been encouraging: Odeyingbo has two sacks and 10 pressings, the latter being the second-highest total in the NFL from two preseason games. The work that Odeyingbo has been focused on at Grand Park showed up at NFL stadiums over the past two weeks.

“He’s a hard worker,” said DeForest Buckner, defensive tackle. “He’s doing the extra work after practice, he’s always out here working on his game and discovering what kind of pass rusher he is. He uses his length when he has to and obviously he has that speed on the edge too.

“You saw it that past game when he got his second sack off the edge. For a big guy, as athletic as he is, he’s still learning how to put it all together, obviously with his first training camp and we’ve definitely seen that make progress with him from the start of camp to now.”

Much was new for Odeyingbo at the training camp – apart from playing in a new, attacking-oriented scheme under Ollie and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

Since Odeyingbo returned mid-last season, he said he focused first on doing his job and being in the right place, and then on making plays. And he was also working his way back from the Achilles injury – playing last year was sort of a part of the recovery process.

Now a year and a half away from the Achilles injury, Odeyingbo is focused on what he needs to work on in practice and has learned how to handle the day-to-day life of an NFL season. He’s not setting any specific goals for 2022 — it’s not his style — but expects he can contribute to the passing frenzy the Colts expect to be the cornerstone of their defense this season.

“I tried to be more of a process-oriented person than a goal-oriented person,” Odeyingbo said. “For me, it’s more about getting better every day and being the best version of myself, rather than trying to set a specific number that I’m trying to achieve and trying to do whatever it takes to reach that number . I’m trying to make myself the best player that I can be for the team, now, for this year and in the future.”

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