One of the biggest tasks for Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is protecting Andrew Luck. As the team considers their offseason moves and looks to address some positions of need, the offensive line always seems to find its way into the conversation because of that very reason: Luck is the franchise player, and if he's hurt, the Colts aren't going anywhere.
It would be a surprise, then, if the Colts didn't address the offensive line this offseason, but perhaps they aren't as far away as some people think. That's the opinion of owner Jim Irsay, at least, as he thinks there are some pieces in place up front.
"I think we're close," Irsay told the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder. "I do think we have the components there and, with this draft, I think we can really add to it."
"I think [Jack] Mewhort is an outstanding young prospect," he continued. "I think guard is his best position and I think he can play there for 10 years. I really do. [Hugh] Thornton has all the capabilities of being an outstanding guard in this league, but he has to stay healthy and he has to mentally make sure that he does everything to prepare himself and avoid penalties on the field.
"Center, I think, we're looking at carefully. I do think that to add a center and another guard/tackle, that sort of thing, will be dictated on the best player that we can get when you're looking at the [draft]. But I think we have the components."
There are a few things worth noting from Irsay's comments. First, he really likes Jack Mewhort and considers guard to be his best position - one he can play for the next ten seasons. Irsay is absolutely right in his assessment of Mewhort, who has been a big bright spot up front in the past two seasons. The key thing with what Irsay said, however, is that he loves Mewhort at guard, which could indicate that the Colts aren't considering moving him back to right tackle, where he started last season. This would be a good thing, as Mewhort is indeed better at guard, but we haven't yet heard from the Colts whether they'd leave Mewhort there or try him again at tackle. While Irsay's comments don't mean that the Colts will definitely leave Mewhort at left guard, it seems like that's where the team wants him, which is a good thing.
Furthermore, Irsay seems to like Hugh Thornton too. Thornton is a very talented player who's biggest issue is consistency, as he has struggled to stay healthy at times and has struggled on the field at times when he is healthy. If Thornton can continue to work on some things, however, he could indeed be a reliable starter, and Irsay seems to like Thornton's ability and potential. As far as the tackles go, Anthony Castonzo is in place at left tackle and at right tackle the Colts seem to really like Denzelle Good. "We really like what we've seen so far," Irsay said. "We don't see why he can't be a starting right guard or right tackle in this league." This isn't the first time that Jim Irsay has mentioned Good this offseason, and in fact Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano have both brought up Good as well. It's unknown whether he will start in 2016, but it's clear that the Colts will give him the chance to compete and like what he brings to the table.
That leaves us with the center position, which has seemed all along to be the position the Colts might address this offseason. At the Scouting Combine, Chuck Pagano noted that the Colts want to address the interior of the offensive line, and Irsay echoed those sentiments by saying they are looking to upgrade at center. That has been the weakest spot along the line, as neither Jonotthan Harrison nor Khaled Holmes have worked out. The Colts have been looking at different centers in this year's draft class and it wouldn't at all be a surprise to see them add one, as it seems the Colts rightly realize that it's the weakest position up front.
Ultimately, Jim Irsay seems to think that the Colts' offensive line has many of the pieces in place, and he's right in suggesting that if the Colts could add a center and maybe a guard, their line would likely look a lot better. The most important thing, though, as we know, is getting the right players at those spots. If the Colts can get a legitimate starter at center to play alongside Jack Mewhort and Hugh Thornton, the interior of the team's line should be improved.