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Previewing Colt's OT Depth Chart Entering 2022 Season.


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Previewing Colts’ OT Depth Chart Entering 2022 Season

The Colts have one of the best right tackles in the league, but eyes will be focused on the battle at left tackle.

ANDREW MOORE

 

The slow days of the calendar for the NFL are nearing their end.

Later this month, NFL teams will reconvene as each organization will begin training camp. Players and coaches will return from their summer break fresh and ready to start the long grind of the NFL season. The Indianapolis Colts are one of those teams and will begin camp on July 27th at Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, Ind.

The Colts are a team that will see plenty of new faces taking on major roles for the 2022 season. Some position battles have already been determined, while others will be up for grabs throughout training camp. The Colts are hoping this competition leads to improved play all over the field.

As was the case a season ago, it is time to preview the Colts’ depth chart as we head into the 2022 season. We will go position by position and discuss how the players stack up heading into the fall. The next group to preview is the offensive tackles, where the competition to block quarterback Matt Ryan’s blindside will certainly be one to watch.

Note: All grades for offensive tackles are per Pro Football Focus.

 

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Braden Smith

2021 Stats: 11 games, 11 starts (all at RT), 80.6 overall grade, 70.8 pass blocking, 86.0 run blocking, 4 sacks allowed

After signing a four-year, $70 million extension last summer, the 2021 season did not get off to a good start for Smith. The big right tackle suffered a foot injury in Week 1 that kept him out for the following six games. The Colts struggled to replace Smith, showing his impact along the right side of the line.

When Smith returned from injury, he showed why the Colts gave him such a massive extension. It did not take long for Smith to regain his form, becoming a dominant force in the running game. His 86.0 run blocking grade ranked seventh among tackles in 2021, and his 80.6 overall grade ranked 13th.

Smith comes into the season as the unquestioned starter at right tackle. He has improved on his play each year and hopes to do the same as he enters his fifth season in the NFL. When healthy, Smith is one of the best right tackles in the league, making holes in the running game for Jonathan Taylor or fending off pass rushers to keep his quarterback upright. The Colts are counting on this continuing for years to come.

 

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Matt Pryor

2021 Stats: 17 games, 5 starts (3 RT, 1 RG, 1 LT), 76.5 overall grade, 75.2 pass blocking, 74.8 run blocking, 0 sacks allowed

The Colts traded for Pryor with the Philadelphia Eagles after the preseason in 2021, hoping he could provide solid depth along the offensive line. Pryor proved to be much more valuable than that.

After getting up to speed with the offense, Pryor became the go-to backup at offensive tackle. He started three games in place of Smith and one for Eric Fisher at left tackle, even replacing Fisher during Week 18 when the tackle struggled. Pryor filled in admirably when called upon and impressed coaches with his play.

Now with Fisher no longer on the team, Pryor will be given the opportunity to lock down the starting left tackle spot for the Colts. He signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract to return to the Colts this spring, and has earned the right to compete for the starting job. His 75.2 pass blocking grade was the highest of any Colts offensive lineman, as the 6’7” tackle did not allow a sack all season.

While Pryor being the full-time starter at left tackle will have to be earned, the Colts feel confident Pryor gives them a solid option on the left side of the line.

 

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Bernhard Raimann

2021 Stats (college): 12 games, 12 starts (all at LT), 94.6 overall grade, 88.7 pass blocking, 94.6 run blocking, 1 sack allowed

The man that will provide the most competition to Pryor for the starting left tackle job is Raimann. The Colts selected Raimann in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Central Michigan. The rookie left tackle comes to the Colts still raw yet full of potential.

Raimann was born in Austria and did not play football until he was 13. After coming to the United States to play football, Raimann was recruited to Central Michigan as a tight end. As he converted to offensive tackle his junior year, it did not take long for him to be a force at left tackle.

Raimann started his final 18 games at left tackle for the Chippewas, earning First-Team All-MAC honors. At 6’6” and 303 pounds, Raimann is very athletic for an offensive tackle and has the speed and footwork to keep pass rushers at bay. While he may need some work in terms of run blocking, he is a quick learner and is praised by coaches for his incredible work ethic.

Raimann may not be ready to start at left tackle come Week 1, but the rookie will continue to push for playing time and may be the long-term solution the Colts have been looking for.

 

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Dennis Kelly

2021 Stats: 10 games, 4 starts (all at RT), 70.4 overall grade, 75.2 pass blocking, 64.0 run blocking, 1 sack allowed

Besides Pryor, the Colts struggled with depth at offensive tackle. With Smith and Fisher in and out of the lineup, it became a problem finding suitable replacements when Pryor was already filling in. The Colts are hoping that does not happen this year.

One of the players the Colts hope can bring solid depth is Kelly. The veteran is entering his tenth season in the NFL and can play both tackle positions. Kelly also has plenty of starting experience with 51 career starts.

Kelly started all 16 games for the Tennessee Titans in 2020 and spent 2021 as a backup tackle for the Green Bay Packers. Kelly signed a one-year deal with the Colts this offseason and will be a solid swing tackle option in Indy.

 

Best of the Rest

Entering training camp, the Colts have nine tackles on the roster. While the aforementioned four seem to be locks to make the roster, some others are intriguing options that could find spots on the active roster or practice squad.

Jason Spriggs is a former second-round pick out of Indiana that can play both outside at tackle and inside at guard.

Jordan Murray is a mammoth player at 6’9”, 325 pounds, who played in the CFL in 2021.

Brandon Kemp, a former college teammate of Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II, signed with the Colts after spending 2021 on the Titans’ practice squad.

Carter O’Donnell was with the Colts last season and saw action in Week 16 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Ryan Van Demark signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent this spring with a $175,000 base salary guaranteed, one of the highest guarantees for an UDFA.

Of these five offensive tackles, Spriggs and Van Demark have the best chance to make the roster. Spriggs is a veteran with position versatility, something the Colts covet with their offensive linemen. Van Demark is an athletic tackle prospect whom the Colts made a priority after the draft, offering him big guaranteed money. There will be plenty of competition at offensive tackle throughout the preseason.

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Looks promising on paper.  
 

If we start reading reports from camp that all the DE’s, including Banogu, are looking like all pros (like last year), then we know we’re in trouble.  

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Would love to see Smith kick inside to RG, maybe prolong his career a bit. I know he's still young, but if Raimann comes along nicely I would like to see Pryor at RT. He did fine at RG but was better to me at RT. RG was the spot Smith played in college. Smith, Kelley and Q at the middle of that OL would be a no brainer in short yardage. Smith's Run block would be the same but I bet his pass blocking would be better. I know it's not bad now.

I wouldn't do it cause of his contract. They say best 5 and I think that would be best 5.

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