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Grading the Colts roster ahead of 2020 NFL Draft and free agency: Offensive Tackle

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

A long off-season is upon us and while Chris Ballard and the Colts front office has plenty of time to work on rounding out the 2020 roster, Stampede Blue would like to take a pretty in-depth look at each position group and assign them letter grades.

The purpose of this exercise is to identify where the team stands at each position, based upon who is currently under contract. Re-signing in-house free agents could have a big impact on numerous grades but until that happens, we know what we know.

With that in mind, let’s dive in and discuss ways the team might move forward and share thoughts about what course of action makes the most sense.

Tackle: F

While Anthony Castonzo determines his NFL future, the Indianapolis Colts face an interesting dilemma. If Castonzo is to the point of seriously considering retirement, whether he moves forward with that decision this year or not, the team will have to be pretty serious about addressing the position long-term. Keep in mind that even Le’Raven Clark is set to become a free agent, leaving only Braden Smith — likely a better guard than tackle — on the roster at the position.

In a perfect world, Castonzo chooses to return to the team and buys Ballard a little time. In the alternative, tackle joins quarterback as monumental needs this off-season.

Under Contract: Braden Smith, Andrew Donnal, Cedrick Lang, Travis Vornkahl

Possible Free Agent Options: Anthony Castonzo, Bryan Bulaga, Jack Conklin, Le’Raven Clark

Draft Prospects: Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Prince Tega Wanogho

Primary Need

It really cannot be overstated that Anthony Castonzo’s decision to retire or return to the NFL has pretty serious implications for Indy’s short-term future. One can argue that the second most important position on the football field is a quarterback’s blind side protector. If the Colts are forced to have Braden Smith and a rookie or a meaningfully worse left tackle on the edges, things could get dicey for the offensive line.

What does a franchise with a pick in the middle of the first round do when it has a glaring need at the most valuable position on the field — quarterback — and potentially a glaring need at the second most valuable position on the field — left tackle? It seems likely that it will take more than one season to fill both holes, particularly when none of the potential free agent solutions are likely to actually hit free agency.