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Colts 2016 player preview: Guard Hugh Thornton

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts will report to training camp on July 26 with their 90-man roster, which will be cut down to 53 players by the end of the preseason. To pass the time until camp, we’re taking a look at every player on the Colts’ 90-man roster. Today, we’re looking at guard Hugh Thornton.

Who is he?

Hugh Thornton enters his fourth season with the Colts, and it’s a big one. Not only does Thornton have to compete for a starting spot, he’s also entering a contract year – which means he needs to impress the Colts (or another team) enough to receive another deal following the season. So far in his NFL career, he has displayed talent but has been inconsistent. Drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Colts out of Illinois, Thornton has played in 37 games for the Colts over the past three years, starting 32 of them. Last year, he was the team’s starting right guard for 12 games, but missed some time due to injury – in fact, Thornton has wound up on injured reserve in each of the past two seasons. He’s a talented player, but he needs to stay on the field and play to that caliber consistently.

What is his role?

Thornton missed this year’s offseason program as he recovers from injury. He lost weight this offseason and is hoping that translates to staying on the field and playing well, but the fact that he missed offseason work means it’s hard to figure out where he stands right now. Entering training camp, it’s still best to consider him the favorite to win the right guard competition even though Jonotthan Harrison was working there in OTAs and mini-camp, as Thornton has played there in recent years and has the talent to produce. But his job is certainly not secure, and if he doesn’t perform well this preseason then he could lose the spot. So even though Thornton’s the presumed favorite for the right guard spot, it’s a big year for him and he’ll need to produce.

What are his chances?

He has a good shot at making the roster and is the favorite to win the right guard spot, though it’s anything but guaranteed.