The Colts have their franchise player in Andrew Luck and invested their 2014 first round pick into running back Trent Richardson. It makes sense, then, to make it a priority this offseason to get an offensive line that can help them out - in Luck's case to keep him upright and in Richardson's case provide him holes to run through.
The offensive line is undoubtedly the biggest priority for the Colts in the offseason once again. The Colts are set at the tackle positions, with Anthony Castonzo at left tackle and Gosder Cherilus at right tackle both being good players and being the bookends of the line. The Colts will get left guard Donald Thomas back, who tore his quad in week two after playing well in the first week of the season. He should be a solid player at the left guard spot and at very least he should make it so that the Colts don't have to add a player there. The real weak spots for the second year in a row were the center and right guard spots, which were manned by Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn. McGlynn is a free agent this offseason and the Colts would save over $4 million in cap room by releasing Satele - something that seems like a no-brainer to me to do but something that is very uncertain in real life.
Some people feel comfortable with Khaled Holmes at center, but I really don't know why. For all we know, Holmes could be the best player from last year's draft class - but we just don't know. He saw only 12 snaps in 2013 after being a fourth round pick, so to those who think he should be the one to step in as the starting center - umm, what? I mean, we didn't really see him play hardly at all, and with how bad the line was, that's saying a lot. ESPN's Mike Wells said it best:
"Holmes is the mystery player of all the draft picks because the Colts selected him in the fourth round and they had countless production and injury issues on the line. He was still inactive list for nine games. Serious warning flags need to be thrown in the air if Holmes couldn't get on the field with all the issues the Colts had with that group."
I've thrown serious warning flags in the air and while I'm not saying Holmes is bad necessarily, I'm saying it's ignorant to think the Colts can just ignore the center position this offseason because they have Holmes. Center needs to be priority number one for the Colts, and they need to release Satele as well.
Hugh Thornton was terrible for much of the year at left guard but showed some potential toward the end of the year and is supposedly better at right guard anyway. Don't give up on him, but that doesn't mean that the Colts shouldn't go after a guard as well.
Clearly, center is the biggest need for the Colts this offseason, but they also need a guard. Investing in the offensive line to protect Andrew Luck and provide lanes for the running game is never a waste, and as we know many games are won in the trenches. The Colts would be wise to invest some money into the trenches this offseason, especially at center.
Potential Offensive Line Options for teams this Offseason:
Free Agents (keep in mind some of these players will be re-signed by their current team)
- Kevin Boothe, New York Giants
- Geoff Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs
- Jon Asamoah, Kansas City Chiefs
- Shawn Lauvao, Cleveland Browns
- Brian Waters, Dallas Cowboys
- Travelle Wharton, Carolina Panthers
- Willie Colon, New York Jets
- John Jerry, Miami Dolphins
- Zane Beadles, Denver Broncos
- Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns
- Brian De La Puente, New Orleans Saints
- Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers
- Roberto Garza, Chicago Bears
- Dominic Raiola, Detroit Lions
- Rich Ohrnberger, San Diego Chargers
- David Yankey, Stanford
- Cyril Richardson, Baylor
- Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
- Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
- La'el Collins, LSU
- Dakota Dozier, Furman
- Tre Jackson, Florida State
- Brandon Linder, Miami
- Anthony Steen, Alabama
- Chris Watt, Notre Dame
- Zach Martin, Notre Dame (played tackle in college but scouts think he may be a good guard)
- Travis Swanson, Arkansas
- Weston Richburg, Colorado State
- Brian Stork, Florida State
- Tyler Larsen, Utah State
- Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
- Russel Bodine, North Carolina
- Marcus Martin, USC
- Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
- James Stone, Tennessee
- Corey Linsley, Ohio State