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Learning more about Austin Blythe in Q&A with Black Heart Gold Pants: "I do think it was a good pick"

To learn more about new Colts center Austin Blythe, we asked RossWB from Black Heart Gold Pants some questions about the team's seventh round pick.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Nebraska Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

With their last of eight picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts grabbed another offensive lineman in Iowa center Austin Blythe.

The team had already drafted a center in the first round in Ryan Kelly to be their starter, so the pick of Blythe was likely for depth purposes. That's not a bad pick in the seventh round, however, and to learn more about the center we reached out to Black Heart Gold Pants, SB Nation's site covering the Iowa Hawkeyes. RossWB was kind enough to answer some questions for us about Austin Blythe. The questions are in bold and the answers follow.

1. How did Austin Blythe do on-the-field at Iowa during his tenure there?

He was very good interior linemen for his entire Iowa career. He redshirted during his first year at Iowa, but he played extensively in all four seasons after that. In fact, he was pretty much a starter from day one --- he played in ten games as a redshirt freshman and started in nine of them. He also started all 40 games over his final three seasons at Iowa. Blythe split time between center and guard at Iowa, although he spent more time at center and that's probably his better position. Blythe earned freshman All-America honors after his freshman season and was a third-team All-American as a senior. He also earned some form of All-Big Ten recognition as a sophomore, junior, and senior and was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the best center in college football each year. Blythe was very good on the field and a key factor in Iowa's success over the last few years.

2. Are there any off-the-field concerns (that you know about) that fans should be aware of?

Nope. Blythe never got in any sort of off-field trouble at Iowa. He got along with the coaches very well, never had any sort of run-ins with the police, and never had any academic issues. He was a permanent team captain for Iowa in 2015 and honestly the only thing preventing him from being a captain earlier in his career might have been Iowa's tendency to have seniors be captains. Blythe was pretty much a model citizen for Iowa off the field.

3. What are some of Blythe's biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Blythe was a very good leader for Iowa, which is an important skill to have as a center. He was a permanent team captain, but as a center he was also the man who helped direct the Iowa offensive line and get guys into the correct position and aware of who they needed to block on a given play. He's very intelligent and he also very technically sound. He's also extremely well-schooled having been trained by Kirk Ferentz, a longtime offensive line coach at the college and NFL level before he became the Iowa head coach. He moves well, too, especially in space, and was a very good high school wrestler, so he has an excellent grasp of leverage and how to move against big guys. He's probably best-suited to work in a zone scheme.

As far as weaknesses go, I think they really boil down to his physical traits -- or lack thereof. There's no hiding the fact that he's on the small side for an offensive lineman, especially at the NFL level -- he's 6-2, 291 lbs and also has short arms (31 1/4") -- so I think it's fair to wonder how he'll handle some of the monsters that populate NFL defensive lines. He had trouble at times against some of the bigger, stronger tackles that he faced in college, so it's fair to wonder how he'll fare against NFL tackles, too. Can Blythe handle the size and strength of defenders at the NFL level? To be honest, I don't know.

4. How do you think he will do transitioning to the NFL level?

It all boils down to that question of how much his size limits him. Is he too short and too small to succeed at the NFL level? Will his short arms be too much of a hindrance? Those are all legit questions. And while he was very versatile in college -- he played at center and both guard positions -- that versatility may not translate to the NFL level. He probably isn't big enough to be effective as a guard at the NFL level, so he's probably locked into a center at the next level. That said, I am optimistic that he can succeed at the NFL level once he has some time to acclimate to the size and speed of players at the next level. He's such an intelligent, skilled, and technically sound player -- there are so many things going for him outside of his size. I think he can leverage those and succeed at the NFL level. At the very least I'd expect him to be a solid rotational option for an NFL team.

5. Do you think this was a good pick by the Colts (in terms of player and draft position)?

I'm a little biased, of course, but I do think it was a good pick. Blythe was a phenomenally productive player for Iowa, he's very coachable, and very technically skilled. His physical skills aren't ideal -- if they were he wouldn't have been available at the back end of the seventh round -- but I don't think they'll necessarily prevent him from having success at the NFL level. The nice thing about drafting Blythe so late is that the risk involved is pretty minimal. But I definitely think that Blythe can become a solid member of an offensive line rotation in the NFL -- and perhaps even push for a starting job once he gets acclimated.

Thanks again to RossWB of Black Heart Gold Pants for taking the time to answer these questions!