With free agency underway, the Indianapolis Colts have departed from the recent norms under general manager Chris Ballard. The team has been active early and working on adding pieces to an evolving roster. Among those new additions is former 49ers defensive end Samson Ebukam.
The team signed Ebukam to a rare three-year deal worth up to $27 million. Ebukam’s exact role remains unknown, but he could be a replacement for current in-house free agent Yannick Ngakoue.
Let’s take a look at five things to know about the Colts’ new edge rusher:
He has Nigerian roots
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Nnamaka (“Nnn-Nam-a-ka”) Samson Ebukam (“Eh-Boo-kahm”) was born on May 9, 1995, to Tobis and Stella Ebukam in Onitsha, Nigeria. Ebukam is the youngest of seven children and spent the first nine years of his life in Nigeria.
His hometown, Onitsha, has a population of over seven million residents and houses the Onitsha Main Market, the largest market in Africa by several accounts.
Football is not his first sport
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Ebukam moved to Oregon to join his father and siblings in America as a child. The transition to the US was difficult then, and Ebukam was getting into fights as he learned English and played soccer.
His physical nature earned him numerous red cards. However, a local coach took notice of his raw abilities and suggested American football to Ebukam. He also used those abilities to play basketball and track and field.
He played three positions in high school
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Ebukam’s natural physicality and explosiveness helped him as he transitioned to football. Coach Dan Wood pushed Ebukam to reach his full potential and allowed him the flexibility to play multiple positions.
Ebukam played fullback, tight end, and defensive end, earning First-Team All-Mount Hood Conference honors. His efforts also earned him honorable mention honors as a tight end.
Two NFL teams helped him along his journey
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After attending Eastern Washington University, Ebukam was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. He made two starts in his rookie season, and his first career forced fumble and sack was against a fellow division rival, the Houston Texans.
Ebukam played 64 games for the Rams, tallying 150 tackles, 14 sacks, and six forced fumbles before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2021.
Pressure is his specialty
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The Colts will see Ebukam hard-pressed to generate the same amount of sacks (9.5) that Yannick Ngakoue delivered last season. However, he consistently had nearly five sacks in the previous four seasons and had a 14.8% pressure rate in 2022.
Ebukam shines in passing scenarios, and if he is the answer to replacing Ngakoue, he’ll be right at home in Gus Bradley’s scheme. It’s similar to what he saw in San Francisco.
Story originally appeared on Colts Wire