Will Colts Use Draft To Bolster Offensive Line?

Intro: The 2016 NFL Draft begins on Thursday and numerous pundits have pegged an offensive lineman for the Colts at pick No. 18.


INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have not held back this offseason when publically speaking on their needs of improvement.

Starting at the Combine, continuing in Florida at the League Meetings and once again last week at Ryan Grigson's pre-draft press conference, the message has been consistent and direct.

The offensive line play has to get better.

With that known, and the NFL Draft just days away, there are several debatable questions for the Colts.

  • Will they draft an offensive lineman? Will they choose a couple?
  • If they do take a lineman, how high will they select one?
  • Are they looking for a position specific player up front?

Offensive line has been by far the most popular position slotted to the Colts in various Mock Drafts.

Names like OT-Taylor Decker (Ohio State), OT-Jack Conklin (Michigan State) and C-Ryan Kelly (Alabama) are the most frequent names being pegged to the Colts at No. 18 overall.

Down at the League Meetings in March, Colts Owner Jim Irsay said a draft haul of a center and a guard/tackle combo player would be an ideal scenario.

If the Colts do go interior linemen in Round One, it would be a rather rare occurrence.

Since 2000, over two-thirds of the NFL linemen taken in Round One have been a tackle (57 of 83).

Just 18 "guards" and 8 "centers" have been first-round picks in the last 16 drafts.

The Colts themselves have never taken a center higher than the fourth round, since moving to Indianapolis in 1984.

Kelly, a three-year starter at Alabama, would change that.

Per Pro Football Focus, Kelly didn't allow a sack and wasn't whistled for a penalty in 1,032 snaps last year.

With Decker and Conklin, it's more of a question of will they fall to 18 and can either play guard to begin their NFL careers, with the Colts liking what they already have at tackle.

After a quiet free agency approach to the offensive line, the Colts still have a chance to bolster that group this week.

"We know that protecting Andrew and running the ball is something that we have to improve on," Irsay says.

A behind the scenes look at the Colts weight room and conditioning during Phase I of their 2016 off-season workout.

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