1. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Last year’s No. 3 offensive line remains intact for 2020 and is primed to repeat as one of the league’s best. The only question mark coming into the offseason was left tackle Anthony Castonzo, but he re-signed for two years to solidify the Colts’ continued success up front. Castonzo is one of the more underrated players in the league, grading between 76.9 and 84.2 in each season since 2012. Castonzo’s 81.3 overall grade last season tied for seventh in the league, as he ranked in the top 16 as both a pass blocker and a run blocker. At right tackle, Braden Smith has made a rare transition from college guard to NFL tackle, and he’s been fantastic in his first two years in the league. He finished No. 9 overall among tackles last season, including the No. 4 mark as a run blocker.
At left guard, Quenton Nelson is among the best guards in the league and is already making his mark as one of the top overall players in the NFL after two outstanding seasons to start his career. Nelson had the No. 2 run-blocking grade and the No. 7 pass-blocking grade in 2019, as his combination of power, quickness and technique have him on a Hall-of-Fame path despite entering just his third NFL season. On the other side, right guard Mark Glowinski has come on strong over the past two years, but he’s a far better run blocker than pass blocker. He gave up 42 pressures during the regular season in 2019, the fourth-most in the league. Center Ryan Kelly ranked eighth at the position last season with a 73.0 overall grade, giving the Colts four out of five starters ranking in the top 10 at their respective positions. With all five starters returning, Indianapolis will be in the running to rank as the league’s best offensive line.
It’s a unit that had each of its five offensive lineman start all 16 games last season together—and has all five starters returning again for 2020.
It also showcases three former first round picks.
The Colts offensive line features one All-Pro (Quenton Nelson), two Pro Bowlers (Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly), one should-be Pro Bowler (Anthony Castonzo), and one of the top young right tackles in football: Braden Smith—with Mark Glowinski as a serviceable starter.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), from left to right, Castonzo (+81.3), Nelson (+91.2), Kelly (+73.0), Glowinski (+60.5), and Smith (+79.8) comprise the Colts’ starting offensive lineman grades respectively from this past season.
With the additions of Nelson and Smith in 2018, it’s a unit that has transformed from one of the NFL’s weakest offensive lines into one of the league’s most improved and best units over the past two seasons.
That should continue for the Colts once again in 2020—with its offensive line’s superior talent and continuity being key.
Plus, the addition of veteran Philip Rivers should only help mitigate the unit’s time in pass protection from this past season, while top rookie running back Jonathan Taylor (with his patience, vision, and speed-power combination) should really thrive rushing behind their offensive line—making things even easier in the ground game.