INDIANAPOLIS – Le'Raven Clark was the Colts' first 2016 draft pick to sign his rookie contract, but he was the last one to play meaningful snaps.
The Colts did not gingerly take the redshirt off of Clark in 2016.
They ripped it off in Week 15, releasing Clark to some of the most formidable defensive fronts in all of football.
In return, Clark more than held his own.
Clark logged 200 snaps in his rookie season. He allowed just one hit and one sack in three starts at right tackle, facing the Vikings, Raiders and Jaguars.
What Clark has given the Colts, and Chris Ballard, is the feeling that the right tackle spot going forward could be just fine in Indianapolis.
"It was a great boost to our room in general, knowing that we are able to come together as a group, feed off each other, and mesh together towards the end of the season," Clark says of the offensive line's play to end last year.
"It gives us a positive outlook to this year for sure."
When the Colts took Clark in the third round of last year's draft, his unique athletic makeup to the offensive line was a serious attraction.
If Clark's technique could be fine-tuned, he already possessed the length and feet to handle being a professional tackle.
After starting the final three games of the season, the 6-5, 319-pound tackle was not ready to hit the offseason.
"As soon as the season is over you are getting ready to get back started immediately," Clark said of his rather abbreviated rookie season, compared to his fellow draft picks.
"You get a week or two (of a break) and you're like, 'Okay, let's get back at it.'"
That came earlier this year when Clark, a Texan, joined his fellow Midwestern offensive linemen for offseason work training together.
In his film assessment of the offensive line, Ballard has liked what he's seen, especially with the young pieces.
It's clear the mindset has changed for that unit and Clark could be on the verge of playing a major part of that future.
"We have the confidence in ourselves that we are going to get the job done," Clark says. "(We're) definitely looking forward to getting after it this season."
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