Most of us can all agree that the Offense Line is the most critical problem that needs to be first and foremost addressed. The OLine has been a consistent issue for the Colts for a significant number of years. Teams make or break through the trenches. It all starts with our Mammoths up-front and it all ends if the other teams’ nasty Mammoths get through. So, let us dive into 4 guys that I think are a realistic possibility for the Colts to pursue.
Geoff is currently a G/OT swing. He has been used primarily as a back-up playing for the Vikings in 2012. He is 6’6” 340lb and 26 years old. His salary in 2012 was 1.35 million. He has been used briefly to fill in for Brandon Fusco, and has statistically out played Fusco. However, the Vikings seem to want to stick with Fusco. Therefore, Geoff should be able to test FA and be available for a relative cheap low risk high reward contract. He has a couple years of NFL experience under his belt; and is primed to be given a starting role again (See below). He would beat out any of our currently options at guard. He is a physical Mammoth and would help the Colts form a core interior. There is a lot of potential with this guy; and, he grades very solid as both a pass protector and a rush paver.
Keys to why he is not currently starting and is an impending FA: He had a sports hernia last summer which led to him being out for about a month. And, in 2011 he had hip surgery. The hip surgery forced him to miss the 2011 season, losing his starting job in Carolina, and led to the 1 year deal in 2012 with the Vikings. Otherwise, he fought through all the other common NFL bumps and bruises.
Don is currently a back-up guard for the Pats. He is 6’4” 305 lb and is 27 years old. His salary in 2012 was $700,000. He has been used primarily as a back-up. He was a starter in 2009 for the Dolphins, and graded out as solid/good pass protector and rush paver. He was involved in 7 games in 2012 with the Pats. He was graded at solid for LG and good/okay at RG. He is not good enough to take over a spot for the Pats line. But, on other lines, he has a lot of potential to be a starter. He should be relative cheap and should be looking for a low risk high reward contract for a starting shot. He would be a very good option at LG for us. He isn’t a huge Mammoth, but he has a fair bit of potential, and would upgrade our LG spot for a reasonable price. Furthermore, it is more realistic that he will be available in FA. And, word is he wants to get his chance to become a starter.
Keys to why he is not currently starting and is an impending FA: He was drafted as a development lineman. He was projected to need a few years to develop to the NFL level; and he proved it. The few years with the Pats have really helped him develop into a NFL quality lineman. When he was on the Fins in 2008, he had a Lisfranc foot injury which was made worse by him “toughing” through it – resulting in IR and losing his roster spot.
Gosder is probably one of the more interesting FAs this year. He is not my first choice to become our RT – however, I think he is the more realistic option for the Colts. By all means, if we can get Vollmer, I would be thrilled. But, unfortunately it just isn’t realistic to assume. Gosder is 6’7” 325 lb and 28 years old. His salary for 2012 was 2.31 million. He has been a starting tackle since the 3rd game in his rookie year. He has always been a RT (never played LT). He is an impact pass protector and a good/okay rush paver. He is close to being considered an all-pro tackle – however his perceived performance and actual performance don’t match up. He isn’t creating a buzz given all the high profile Oline FA that we have this year. But, he would be an amazing pick-up for the Colts. Furthermore, I think he would fit into the Colts environment. He founded his own non-profit, he really did what he could to help Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, and he does summer outreach programs for disabled kids. The man seems to be a stand up guy, and can play football. I think he should be a prime target for the Colts to go after.
On a more joking note: how did a guy like this get stuck on the Lions? He is providing Turkey dinners while Suh is kicking groins.
Branden is a higher profiled name. Some of this could be because he is looks like a gem compared to the rest of the Chiefs. But, he would still be a good option for the Colts to pursue. Branden stands at 6’5” 316 lbs and 28 years old. His 2012 salary was $2.71 million. He was drafted as a guard and switched immediately to a tackle. He is a top pass protector, which the Colts really need in order to protect Luck. However, his rush blocking is weaker then a RT at his price should have. Pass protection is a key reason why he was switched from guard to tackle. He really excels in pass protection and sets the pocket against fast DEs. He brings versatility as a swing OT/OG if needed. He primarily has been a LT, so if he came to the Colts he might have to switch to the RT position. In 2008 and 2009 he struggled with mental mistakes and nagging elbow/foot/ankle injuries. In 2010 through now, he has really improved and come into his own. But, given his high profile statue and current contract, I think, he will command more money then would be wise to spend on him.
Basic Comparison: Branden (28 years old) vs. Gosder (28 years old)
Snaps: 722 to 1,229
Overall grades: +13.8 to +23.4
However, Branden is still considered better and ranked higher than Gosder is.
My hopes are that we will sign Geoff, Don, and Gosder. I think they would provide a significant upgrade in our OLine; as well as, giving us the best OLine we’ve had in years. We would add meat, muscle, and quality linemen at an affordable price. They are even affordable if we slightly overpay them in order to get them. They are all solid/good pass protectors and road pavers. I think each is a realistic opinion for the Colts to get. In addition, they are young enough to be retained for a few years; and, it will allow for the Colts to fill other holes. If the Colts get those three then our Line would look like this:
Castonzo, Thomas, A.Q or Satele, Schwartz, Gosder
Our back-ups would be Justice (if retained), Reitz, and A.Q/Satele. Thus giving us 8 quality guys at offensive line for an affordable price.
Last note, we need 2 quality Oline FAs this offseason. To negligent this would be the first real hit against Grigs. Nevertheless, I do believe Grigs to be smart enough to fix this problem. And, I expect Grigs to pull in a few lesser known guys that many of us have never heard of. That is his style, and we might find a gem or two in that group. So, Oline competition at training camp and OTAs should be exciting to watch. We also have RG3-30 to test out, but in this write up I am assuming he isn’t more than a project lineman for the moment.