The Importance Of An NFL Right Tackle

Intro: In the NFL, a bookend left tackle is thought of as a virtual must. Are we seeing a growing importance at the right tackle position?

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INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL is a matchup centric league.

A speedy running back on a plodding linebacker.

A bigger wide receiver exposing a diminutive cornerback in the red zone.

A powerful defensive linemen taking advantage of a weaker interior linemen.

For 16 weeks plus, the winners of such individual matchups usually lead to the winners on the scoreboard.

Just look back at this year's Super Bowl.

Von Miller, lining up almost exclusively opposite the right side of Carolina's offensive line, tormented the Panthers' offense and wrecked any game plan.

Earning MVP honors in Super Bowl 50, Miller had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, causing nightmares for the Panthers.

What that night showed the rest of the NFL was pass rushers are invaluable and the right tackle position should be viewed even closer to the mega contracts that typically accompany left tackles.

This is where the Colts' offseason dilemma comes into play.

Finding young pass rushers is a need in 2016.

But where does right tackle fall on the offseason pecking order?

Mock Drafts have it pretty high for the Colts.

But the new age of college football, with so many spread looks from offenses, make evaluating linemen a bit challenging.

"It is more difficult," Denver coach Gary Kubiak said on Wednesday. "When they are in the spread game it's a little bit of a different type of run game as far as watching a guy come off the ball and power-type football and those types of things.

"I think evaluating (line prospects) football knowledge (is important). I think that's really important—their football knowledge and how quick they can help you."

Joe Reitz showed in 2015 that he could more than handle starting duty on the right side, ranking as one of Pro Football Focus' better right tackles last year.

When Anthony Castonzo was sidelined for three weeks, forcing Reitz to flip over to left tackle, last year's seventh-round pick Denzelle Good showed potential.

Having Reitz and Good under contract for multiple years gives Indianapolis the option to be flexible when analyzing potential draftees in the trenches.

Can a tackle at the collegiate level be a guard at the next level, ala Jack Mewhort?

That's what the Colts will find out in the coming days with the likes of Michigan State's Jack Conklin, Ohio State's Taylor Decker and LSU's Vadal Alexander.

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