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Colts Counting On Rookie Offensive Linemen In 2016

Intro: Talk with the Colts veteran offensive linemen and they know how vital the play of the rookies in their room will be this season.


INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts' offseason work was complete last Friday but Jack Mewhort and Hugh Thornton postponed getting their weekend started.

Their new center was walking around the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center and the two men, potentially lining up on each side of Ryan Kelly this fall, wanted to meet the rookie.

It was the first of many introductions Kelly will make over the next week.

Rookie minicamp for Kelly will wrap up on Sunday and the rookie class will then join the vets for the offseason program continuing on Monday.

As a former first-round pick, who started on the offensive line as a rookie, Anthony Castonzo believes Kelly's presence this time of year is even more vital considering all the duties for a center.

"The center has got to set everything up for everybody," Castonzo says of Kelly.

"I think at center your brain is just as important as your blocking is because I'm relying on the call to kind of set everything up. A lot of communication comes from that center position. Obviously he's the point of attack on run, so being able to move a guy out of there is real important for a center."

Kelly will now try to create the necessary synergy with the rest of his line group.

While Kelly is the expected starter at center, the Colts offensive line could have another three rookies serving as starters or backups in 2016.

The Colts veteran linemen knew the unit was going to receive some new bodies through the draft.

"We've got a lot of people we've got to bring up to speed," Castonzo says.

"I'm going to have to try and kind of take guys under my wing, and I think all the guys who have been around are going to be the same and make sure guys get up to speed and are ready to go come the season."

Just three lockers down from Castonzo, stands Andrew Luck.

To the left and right of Luck are Jack Mewhort and Ryan Kelly.

When Kelly saw where his NFL locker was positioned, he knew the meaning behind it.

"The quarterback relationship with the center is very crucial," Kelly says. "I think certainly you have to build a relationship off the field as well. I think this is a big shoe to fill.

"Obviously I think it just goes to show the club's importance they're going to put on the offensive line and being able to protect him. I hope to just keep my head down, keep working hard and do my job the best job I can."

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