According to Pro Football Focus, the Indianapolis Colts have one of the NFL’s Top 5 offensive tackle duos ahead of the 2020 season—coming in at the 4th best overall:
4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: LT ANTHONY CASTONZO AND RT BRADEN SMITH
One of the more underrated developments this offseason was Castonzo’s decision to hold off on retirement and return to what has become one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. Castonzo hasn’t been selected to a Pro Bowl in his nine-year NFL career, but he has consistently been one of the better pass-blocking left tackles in the game while still providing solid play in the run game. He has finished with an overall grade below 76.9 only once in his career, his rookie 2011 season, and he’s one of just eight tackles to put up pass-blocking grades of 80.0 or higher in each of the past two seasons on 250 or more pass-blocking snaps. His return is big for the Colts in their pursuit of an AFC South title.
Smith, meanwhile, impressed from a grading perspective in his second season out of Auburn this past season. He still has some things to work on in pass protection — finishing the 2019 season with a 68.1 pass-blocking grade — but his 86.4 run-blocking grade was one of the best marks in the NFL. Considering young tackles generally don’t reach their peaks until three or four years into their careers, Smith’s improvement from 2018 to 2019 bodes well for his prospects in 2020. The results we saw from him as a run-blocker certainly bode well for Marlon Mack and the newly acquired Jonathan Taylor on the ground, too.
Regarding their blindside protector, Anthony Castonzo, the 31 year old had arguably the best season of his 9-year career in 2019. Per Pro Football Focus, Castonzo received a +81.3 grade overall (the 8th best among all offensive tackles)—highlighted by a +84.4 pass blocking grade.
Making all 16 starts in 2019, Castonzo allowed just 3 sacks and 34 total QB pressures—while committing a mere 2 penalties.
Meanwhile, the Colts’ 24 year old starting right tackle, Braden Smith, has a really bright future in the NFL—as he’s already become one of the top young tackles in all of football.
Per Pro Football Focus, Smith received a +79.8 grade overall—including a +86.4 run blocking grade (his overall grade made him the 11th best ranked offensive tackle this past season).
The 2nd-year right tackle allowed 7 sacks and 46 total QB pressures, while committing 5 penalties in 2019.
Pro Football Focus ranked the Colts as having one of the top offensive lines following the 2019 season, and their two talented bookends are a big reason why:
Most valuable Offensive Lines in 2019 per PFF WAR— PFF (@PFF) June 8, 2020
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It’s hard to argue with such a high ranking for the Colts offensive tackle duo right now.
The pair is that good.