INDIANAPOLIS – After last year's abundant offensive line haul in the draft, the Colts should feel just fine in hearing about the lack of depth with that position group in 2017.
General Managers from the Chargers, Panthers and Steelers have all commented in recent days about how this year's offensive line talent in the draft is nowhere near what has been seen in recent years.
If the Colts were looking to bolster a young offensive line (again) through this year's draft, they might not find the same success as 2016.
Chris Ballard comes to Indianapolis with a unique offensive line situation.
Ballard has eight guys on the roster, all under contract, who have started at least three games for the Colts over the past two seasons.
In evaluating the roster over the past month, Ballard has formed an opinion on the current state of the offensive line.
He's comfortable with a trio from left to right of Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort and Ryan Kelly, the three who started together for much of 2016.
At right guard, Joe Haeg has caught Ballard's eye in watching tape of the 2016 rookie. Ballard has said it's been "fun" looking at Haeg on film and the GM sees a solid piece there going forward.
With Le'Raven Clark finishing the 2016 season at right tackle, Ballard has observed another guy he can build with up front. Ballard believes the "talented" Clark got valuable experience last season and just needs more playing time to develop.
Ballard, who also threw out Denzelle Good's name this week at the Combine, appears to have his early focus on a quintet of Castonzo, Mewhort, Kelly, Haeg and Clark.
Even if Ballard likes what the current roster has in the offensive trenches, he's not going to turn his head completely away from that group.
The Colts GM stresses the passing league nature of the NFL, thus the importance of protecting the quarterback.
And when the draft rolls around, if a couple of prospects are close on the board when the Colts get on the clock, Ballard is going to lean to the lines.
"If it's even (between two players), you build up front," Ballard says.
But it's no guarantee the Colts will be needing to go down the O-line draft path in 2017.
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.