If there is one spot on the Colts roster that, in previous years, has been a revolving door of players it's the offensive guard position. Due to injuries last year, we were signing guys off the couch to come in and play guard. I see a huge value in protecting the ability to step up with strong interior line play. Depth is critical along the O-Line because these big guys are always getting hurt. This next draft pick would be much more than depth.
Kevin Zeitler is the next in a long line of Wisconsin Badger linemen to move on to the NFL. Rarely have we seen multiple guards projected in the first round of the draft. This year may be the exception. David DeCastro, Cordy Glenn and Zeitler all have a shot to go in the first round. I think this points to the shift in defenses trying to pressure up the middle and offensive coordinators needing to adjust.
Zeitler's jump up some board after the combine is being attributed to a really good set of interviews. You have to love a kid that has the ability to play but also can impress during an interview. It points to a well-rounded individual that could be a great asset. Kevin is also a perfectionist who never stops working on the field and in the weight room. He is average size for an NFL guard, which is big compared to what we Colts fans are used to. His body type is most like that of Ben Ijalana but he works with more fluidity and bend than most guys his size.
His career at Wisconsin may have been overshadowed by bigger names on the outside like Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt, but Zeitler was a FBS Coaches All-American in and All Big Ten First Team during his senior season. One thing that does seem to give him an edge is the fact that he has remained on the field. He played in all 13 games in 2009 and 2010 and missed only preseason time in 2011with an ankle sprain.
Follow after the jump to see what some draft sites have to say, see his combine production and get my take.
Don't forget to check out all the prospects on our 2012 Draft Profile Page.National Football Post - Kevin Zeitler
A good looking guard prospect with a thick trunk and natural girth through his base. Sits into his stance well, displays natural bend, can keep his base under him off the football and create an initial snap into contact. A tough, strong in-line guy who you can run behind and also has some coordination on the move. Not as effective in the pass game, but can mature into an average NFL pass blocker if he learns to get off the ball more consistently. Looks like a gritty type starter early on in his NFL career to me.
A very smart, steady, blue-collar power blocker who’s capable of eliminating defenders when he gets his hands on them. Can step into a lineup readily but always might have some struggles handling quickness.
Zeitler has been a regular starter when healthy over the past three years on extremely productive offensive lines at Wisconsin. All of his linemates have been considered professional run blockers with the size to match, and he is no different. Zeitler is well coached and technical in his pass set. He has second- or third-round value due because of his experience playing on a productive line and being polished enough to play early.
My Take for the Colts:
I would love to see us beef up the inside of the O-Line. This can be accomplished by getting someone for the outside and sliding Ijalana inside or getting someone like Zeitler for the inside. This is the kind of high-character, hard worker that the Colts need. I would not be disappointed with Zeitler at the top of the second. He may be gone by then though. Costanzo, Zeitler and Ijalana would be a more formidable line than we have had in years.