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Countdown to Colts: Guard Matt Slauson

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A great use of the Countdown to Colts series is learning a little bit about the newcomers to the horseshoe. With 68 days until the beginning of Indy’s season, let’s take an in-depth look at offensive guard Matt Slauson.

The Journey

A two-time member of the Associated Press’ Second-Team All-Big 12 and the First-Team All-Big 12 by the San Antonio Express-News his senior season, Slauson started 34 games for Nebraska his sophomore-senior seasons at both right tackle and right guard. Matt Slauson was part of an electric offense — specifically his senior season — that ranked top 20 in the nation in scoring, passing and total offense.

A day-three prospect in the 2009 NFL Draft, Slauson was selected by the New York Jets with the 193rd pick in the sixth round. He would go on to spend three years in New York, starting in all 48 games during that stretch. Slauson was as consistent as they come at the guard position, and also had a touchdown to his name in 2011 off a fumble recovery.

Slauson would be picked up by the Chicago Bears in the offseason of 2013 and started all 16 games his first season in the windy city. He received a four-year contract extension the following year, but was cut in 2016 after 37 total games with the Bears — all of which he started.

The now-Los Angeles Chargers picked up Slauson just over two weeks after he was cut by the Bears and started all 16 games for LA in the 2016 season at center. Slauson was eventually placed on injured reserve list with a biceps injury seven games into the 2017 season. Slauson has yet to appear in a game he hasn’t started in, latching a grand total of 108 starts in his eight seasons. At the age of 32, Slauson signed with the Indianapolis Colts on a one-year, $3 million deal.

The Fit on the Roster

Entering his 10th season in the league, Slauson is the most experienced of the offensive linemen in Indianapolis and the second-most on the entire roster — behind 22-year vet Adam Vinatieri. He’s also the lone Cornhusker on the roster.

Aside from his two stints on the injured reserve list, Slauson is as sturdy as it gets in the trenches. He’s only missed 20 games in nine seasons and has only two major injuries since making it to the NFL. He fits as a formidable force and veteran presence in a rather young offensive line unit, one that can also play multiple positions among the interior and fill gaps when needed.

Moving Forward

As we approach the start of training camp, expect Slauson to compete for the starting position at right guard with a healthy Jack Mewhort and rookie Braden Smith. Slauson may also find himself at center at some point if young-and-promising center Ryan Kelly can’t remain healthy for the full season.

Since the center and guard positions haven’t been in the healthiest the past few seasons for the Colts, Slauson should at the very least expect to fill out the rotation on the interior of the offensive line. Beyond that, I see no reason to not keep a reliable body at one of the most depth-needed positions on an NFL roster and — unless health or age catch up to Slauson faster than expected — Slauson should be an interest for Colts’ brass for the coming years.