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Chris Ballard, Chuck Pagano don’t rule out adding offensive line competition in draft

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NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There may be no more debated position of need for the Indianapolis Colts than the offensive line. To some fans it’s one of the most important needs, while for others it would hardly be considered a need at all.

As you probably could have expected, it seems the Colts themselves are right in the middle somewhere. On the one hand, they like the offensive linemen they have, but on the other hand they may still bring in some more offensive line help.

“The O-line is very young, but I think it has a chance to really grow,” general manager Chris Ballard said yesterday, according to Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen. “It’s been fun to watch that group work together. They are all in the building working together. And that’s been fun to see. All their workouts they are doing them together.”

But while Ballard likes the unit, he stopped short of saying that the starting five are already on the roster.

“I wouldn’t say that because we still want to add some competition,” Ballard said. “When you get those five guys in there settled hopefully they can work together for a season but we all know that’s not realistic so that six, seventh and eighth lineman come critical. And they have to have position flexibility. You’ve got to have a tackle that can play guard. You need to have a guard that can play center. It’s important. We will continue to dig.”

There’s nothing definitive there to suggest that the Colts will for sure take an offensive lineman in the upcoming draft, but Chris Ballard sure didn’t rule it out either. That plays into his emphasis on competition, and in that regard it makes sense why he wouldn’t want to just say that the starting five are already on the roster. So it seems the Colts will be keeping their eyes open for potential offensive line competition - and Chris Ballard has previously said that he’ll always be looking for help in the trenches.

Head coach Chuck Pagano seems to be of the same opinion.

“There’s still going to be some competition there,” Pagano said regarding the right guard and right tackle spots, according to Bowen. “We moved some guys in and out of there based on production, based on injuries. Le’Raven Clark is a guy. Denzelle Good is a guy. Joe Haeg is a guy. We’ve got some bodies there. [Brian] Schwenke will add some competition to the room. We’ve had good right guard play. We’ve had good right tackle play. But it’s been kind of by committee. It will be nice to find a couple of pieces to plug in there and have your five guys in place.”

Pagano also mentioned that it’s possible the Colts will look to the draft to add an offensive lineman.

“If we are fortunate enough to get one of the guys in the draft, we will create some more competition,” he said.

Of course, don’t confuse this as saying that the Colts’ biggest need is up front, and owner Jim Irsay explained earlier this week that he wants to add pass rush help, a young corner, and a later round running back. But it seems like neither Chris Ballard nor Chuck Pagano want to rule out the possibility of adding offensive line help.

The Colts have some interesting pieces to work with along the right side of the line, as Joe Haeg, Le’Raven Clark, Brian Schwenke, and Denzelle Good will all be competing for spots. So what the Colts really need isn’t another project player, though it seems like the main thing the Colts want out of a lineman that they bring in is competition. If that’s the case, you can never have too many guys up front competing in camp, but that shouldn’t be prioritized over some of the more pressing needs. It doesn’t sound like that’s the case with Ballard and Pagano, though we shouldn’t be surprised if they add an offensive lineman in the upcoming draft.