INDIANAPOLIS – With no serious intrigue in the offensive line class this free agency, the Colts knew the draft was their route for improving the trenches.
A true center and a guard/tackle combo was the objective.
The 2016 draft wasn't even halfway old before the Colts accomplished that goal.
Center Ryan Kelly in Round One. A versatile, lengthy choice in Round Three, with Le'Raven Clark.
Thanks to @Colts organization, Mr. @JimIrsay & Coach Pagano, for this incredible honor! Can't wait to get to work #GoColts — Le'Raven Clark (@LeRavenC) April 30, 2016
"We wanted to solidify that group, but we also wanted to get players that we think have starter ability," Ryan Grigson said after taking Clark with the 82nd overall pick.
"We wanted to find the guys that have the traits."
Kelly's traits were seen on a national stage the past three seasons.
For Clark, the Colts saw the length and that was backed up from a private workout with new line coach Joe Philbin.
At Texas Tech, Clark started 51 straight games. After starting at right guard as a redshirt freshman, Clark fortified the left tackle spot his last three seasons.
When draft evaluations began, the Colts were enamored with the freakish hands and arms of the 6-5, 316-pound Clark.
"He's got 36 1/4-inch arms," Grigson, a former offensive lineman, said on Friday. "I don't know if there's longer out there.
"Joe Philbin and I were reminiscing and talking about this player because early on in the process we were trying to find who were the most athletic guys out there and doing some comparison shopping. (Clark) was in that very small, elite group of movement skills and length to where you could stand alone and block sometimes. That's hard to come by. He can get in difficult positions even in the college film because there's some development there that needs to happen. But you see him use his athletic ability and length and do things you can't coach and that's a lot of times at offensive line, especially at tackle, that's a little comforting to buy your quarterback time. Even when the technique fails, you still have that length and those feet to be able to buy your quarterback that extra half a second that could equal a touchdown or a critical third-down conversion."
With some added bulk, the Colts feel Clark can fit in multiple spots along their offensive line.
Clark comes from a Texas Tech offense, where he didn't get a chance to drop down in a three-point stance much.
At the Combine, Clark said putting a hand in the ground is something he had been working on for the next level.
He addressed that again on Friday.
"I feel way more comfortable coming out of a three-point stance," the Rockdale, Texas native said.
"You definitely get more leverage on guys (when) you're in a three-point stance coming off the ball, so I don't see too much of an adjustment there for me."
Like T.J. Green in the second round, the Colts won't be forced to throw Clark into the starting lineup on opening day.
They have given Philbin an upgrade though, with position flex inside and out.
"In the second round, we were looking at (Green and Clark) so they are guys that we are really happy to get because we thought that they had tremendous value," Grigson said.