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Report: Colts' love for Ryan Kelly is "real"

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According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, the Colts' love for Alabama center is "real."

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts need offensive line help in the upcoming NFL Draft, but for many draft analysts and mock drafts that has come through the form of an offensive tackle.

Many others who follow the Colts closely (including myself), however, suggest that the better pick for the Colts up front is on the interior of the line, particularly at center, and that Alabama's Ryan Kelly should be strongly considered with the 18th overall pick.  It sounds like that might really be the case, as the Colts reportedly do indeed like Kelly.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller released a very comprehensive draft notebook today, and in it he included this nugget about the Colts:

The love for Alabama's Kelly is real, according to decision-makers I've talked to in Indianapolis. Sources on the coaching staff tell me they're not set on taking an offensive tackle at any point in this draft and instead expect to go center and edge-rusher in some order with the first two picks.

There's two parts to this, and right now we want to focus on the first part regarding Ryan Kelly (we'll talk more about the Colts' plan to go center and edge rusher later).  Kelly (6-5, 297 pounds) was a three-year starter at Alabama (starting 35 games), and his standout performance in 2015 earned him the Rimington Award (given to the nation's top center).  To go along with that award, he was also a first-team All-American during his senior season and allowed just four total pressures without a sack all year.  Kelly is widely considered to be the best center prospect in this year's draft.

The Colts really need help at the center position, as neither Khaled Holmes nor Jonotthan Harrison are the answer.  The position is actually the weakest up front for the Colts and the biggest area of need, so while some might argue the 18th pick is too high to take a center, I'd argue that if you think a guy can be a starter for years to come and can play at a Pro Bowl level, then 18 certainly isn't too high.  That's the potential that Kelly has, and many have begun to come around and notice that.  It's good news if the Colts do too, and it sounds like Ryan Kelly might really be in play for the Colts on Thursday night.