Last year, the Indianapolis Colts drafted Denzelle Good in the seventh round of the NFL Draft and wound up starting him in four games at right tackle. The team’s decision-makers have spoken very highly of him, from owner Jim Irsay to general manager Ryan Grigson to head coach Chuck Pagano.
It was clear that Good was going to factor into the Colts’ future plans, but when OTAs started up, Good was playing at right guard. Sure enough, we’ve not seen him play at tackle since, as in training camp he’s been competing for - and seemingly winning - the starting right guard spot.
The Colts have talked before about the possibility of Good playing guard, but what made them decide to actually move him there? Chuck Pagano explained the reasoning this morning.
“We’re trying to find the best five [along the offensive line],” Pagano said. “We’ve got competition at that right guard spot between Hugh [Thornton] and Denzelle, [and] we felt good at the right tackle spot. Joe [Reitz]’s played a ton of football there. We felt great about our draft choices, we feel like between Le’Raven [Clark] and Joe Haeg we’ve got two potential guys. Joe’s been playing the lion’s share inside, but he’s got some reps at the right tackle spot. Le’Raven’s going to be an outstanding player. So we felt good about that, and really with Ryan [Kelly] inside, the biggest question mark was at right guard, in my mind and in everybody else’s mind, probably in your guys’ opinion [as well]. So put those two guys there and they’ll have an equal opportunity to earn the job, equal reps with the ones and twos, and let this thing shake out.”
It sounds like a big part of the reasoning for moving Denzelle Good to guard, then, is the fact that it was the position that was most open. The team likes Joe Reitz as their starting right tackle, so rather than having Good compete with Reitz for that spot the Colts decided to have him move inside to compete for the right guard spot. That battle has taken place between Good and Hugh Thornton, but it’s impossible to ignore the sense that Good is the favorite at this point. I think the change in positions can tell us a lot about how much the Colts like Good, as it sounds like they wanted him to have the best shot at winning a starting spot because they want to get him in there. The Colts want their best five starting up front, and it’s starting to seem like they think both Joe Reitz and Denzelle Good are among that group. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that they opted to move Good inside to give him a shot to win that position.
The right guard position isn’t determined yet by any means (as they’ve yet to play a single preseason game), but Denzelle Good will be seriously competing for the spot - and the Colts moved him there so he could do just that.