Ryan Kelly Gives Colts No Worry In The Middle Of Their Offensive Line

Intro: In spending the 18th overall pick this year on center Ryan Kelly, the Colts were hoping they got a guy who checked all the boxes. What has Kelly shown them so far?

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ANDERSON, Ind. – Describing an offensive lineman typically leads to words like mauler, tenacious and tough.

So when Jack Mewhort was asked earlier this week about rookie center Ryan Kelly, the third-year guard sounded like Mel Kiper, Jr. on draft night.

"He's a stud," Mewhort said of the man he will be lining up next to this season.

Mewhort repeated the description, when asked a similar question the following day.

"When I say stud, it's not just playing football," Mewhort began about Kelly. "How he is in meetings, how he is in the locker room, he doesn't say much. He just puts his nose to the grindstone and goes to work every day. That's something you appreciate as a teammate and an offensive lineman."

"We aren't worried about him being a rookie."

Fellow lineman Anthony Castonzo first noticed the size of the 6-4, 313-pound Kelly.

That checked one box.

Then Castonzo sat in meetings with the 18th overall pick.

Another box checked.

"His ability to just kind of pick things up," Castonzo says of Kelly's biggest impression.

"He's obviously a physical specimen for a center. He's really got all the tools."

While arguments could last for hours on how the roles will look for the other seven Colts' draft picks, a dispute wouldn't last long for Kelly.

He's the starting center. Period.

This camp and preseason will give Kelly a chance to show he can thrive when things begin to get more and more real.

The full pads are coming. Opponents are on the horizon. Through it all, Kelly's poise must be alive.

"It is absolutely paramount that our centers do a great job of setting the fronts, setting the schemes, identifying the defenses, potentially changing things after an initial call," new line coach Joe Philbin says.

"It's a big part of the job and you want him to get comfortable to the stage where he doesn't have to think about it and it kind of comes second-nature so then he can focus on the fundamentals and the finishing and the blocking part of it."

On the roster, the experience label for Kelly is listed as 'R'---the designation for a rookie.

Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski finds that hard to believe.

"It's like he's been there 10 years," Chud says of his new center.

"Nothing fazes him. I tried in the spring to get him a little bit and he's sharp. He's going to be a heck of a player here for a long time and in this league for a long time."

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