INDIANAPOLIS — The 2020 season was a microcosm of Will Fries potential value for the Indianapolis Colts.
He started nine games in all for Penn State, including six at right guard and three at right tackle. And he performed so well that he earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors.
That kind of position flexibility can be extremely valuable at the NFL level, and it's a trait that the Colts, specifically, seek out in their offensive linemen.
On Saturday, the Colts selected Fries with their seventh-round (248th-overall) pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, hoping that he can develop into a key piece of depth for one of the NFL's top offensive line units.
"I talked to the Colts a fair amount throughout the process," Fries told reporters shortly after his selection. "I felt like they were a team interested in me going into today's draft. I was just extremely blessed and lucky to have this opportunity and looking forward to making the most of it."
Fries, a Cranford, N.J., native, redshirted his true freshman season in 2016 at Penn State, but quickly found his way into the lineup his redshirt freshman season, when he appeared in all 13 games with nine starts and earning Honorable Mention All-Freshman Team honors from BTN.com.
Fries started 11 games the following year — seven at right tackle and four at left tackle — before starting the entire season, 13 games, at right tackle his redshirt junior year in 2019, when he was selected All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and the media.
Then there was the aforementioned 2020 season, in which Fries made three starts at right tackle to begin the season before finishing out the year with six starts at right guard.
"I think it's going to help me a ton," Fries said of his position flexibility at Penn State. "Being a guy who can play multiple positions and play at a high level at those positions, I think that's one of my biggest assets. I think that's going to help me out a lot going forward."
The Colts are yet to specify a position for Fries to commit to, if any, moving forward, but he's confident in his abilities whether it's at guard or tackle.
"I think I can handle all that," Fries said. "Preparing and playing both positions in seven games this year, I think that helped me. I want to do whatever is best for the team and help put the team in the best position possible. That's going to be my No. 1 goal no matter what."