According to Pro Football Focus, two Indianapolis Colts have been named to their 2019 NFL All-Pro Team: starting left guard Quenton Nelson (First Team) and left tackle Anthony Castonzo (Second Team) respectively:
By the end of his rookie season, Quenton Nelson was already playing like the best guard in football, and this year he backed that up with an entire season of stellar play. Nelson didn’t give up a sack all season despite blocking for a quarterback with a tendency to hold onto the ball too long and invite more pressure than he should. His run blocking was also as dominant as you would expect, and the Colts should expect a series of All-Pro spots over the coming years.
The Colts offensive line was once again one of the team’s bright spots this season, as the Colts finished with the league’s 7th most rushing yards (2,130 total rushing yards) and tied for 9th with the fewest sacks allowed (32 total sacks allowed).
Indianapolis’ offensive line opening game starters started all 16 games—including Nelson and Castonzo, which had not occurred in franchise history since 2000.
As a result of another season of strong play, the Colts offensive line was Pro Football Focus’ third highest ranked unit. Both Nelson and Castonzo were a big reason why—yet again.
As a reigning 1st-Team All-Pro, Nelson was elected to a consecutive Pro Bowl appearance, and his left side blocking mate, Castonzo, was named as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019.
In addition to surrendering 0 sacks, Nelson allowed just 20 total QB pressures, tied for the fewest among all guards via PFF (subscription). He received a +91.2 grade overall from PFF, which is the second best among all qualifying offensive guards.
Meanwhile, Castonzo only allowed 3 sacks and 34 total QB pressures despite blocking against some ferocious pass rushers on the outside (such as J.J. Watt and Von Miller). He graded out as PFF’s third highest rated left tackle with a +81.3 grade overall.
The Colts PFF All-Pro pair had career seasons respectively and are currently playing their best football.
Nelson should be a heavy favorite to become an AP First-Team All-Pro yet again, while Castonzo should be under strong consideration for the first time in his 9-year career.
Of course, the big news right now for the Colts is that while the 23 year old Nelson projects to be a cornerstone of the Colts offensive line for years to come, their veteran left tackle Castonzo, at age 31, is currently a free agent and is seriously contemplating retirement.
The team wants him back, but there’s a chance Castonzo could walk away entirely, leaving a gaping hole on the left side of the Colts offensive line for 2020 and beyond.
Time will tell, but this is a well-earned accomplishment by Nelson and Castonzo, both of whom are two of the offense’s best players—and catalysts to the team’s recent offensive line success (and overall turnaround).
One question that begs asking though is how did another Colts reigning AP First-Team All-Pro, Darius Leonard, fail to make either PFF’s first or second team at linebacker in 2019?
Leonard had 121 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 5 interceptions in 13 starts—playing great football yet again.
However, that may be a discussion for a different day.