According to NFL.com’s Joe Thomas, Indianapolis Colts starting right tackle Braden Smith is the league’s 6th best offensive tackle overall—making his Top 10 players at the position entering the 2021 season:
6. Braden Smith
Indianapolis Colts · RT
The Colts’ fourth-year right tackle is among the most underappreciated and unheralded players in the league. He’s a rock-steady run blocker — helping rookie Jonathan Taylor run to a top-three finish in 2020 — who’s worked hard to improve his pass blocking. His work in pass pro paid off down the stretch last season, as he allowed zero pressures in five of his last six regular-season games. Not coincidentally, Smith also literally got paid this offseason, landing a four-year, $70 million extension from Indy. The banged-up Colts need the same kind of production from Smith this fall right out of the gate.
Of course, the future Pro Football First-Ballot Hall of Famer Joe Thomas knows a thing or two about playing offensive tackle at a very high level—having been a 6x NFL First-Team All-Pro, 2x NFL 2nd-Team All-Pro, and 10x Pro Bowler, anchoring the Cleveland Browns blindside for 11 pro seasons.
It appears that the national media is beginning to catch up to Smith’s strong success with the Colts—as he’s starting to become a household name.
Some of it was recently highlighted by the Colts just rewarding Smith with a 4-year, $72.4 million contract extension—which definitely drew league headlines.
The 25 year old offensive tackle (and former 2018 second round pick) of the Colts received a +80.1 overall grade from PFF this past season—as their 16th best graded offensive tackle in the league during 14 starts.
Specifically, in pass protection, Smith didn’t surrender a single sack and allowed just 25 total QB pressures in 578 total pass blocking snaps. In the ground game, he received a +78.2 run blocking grade and was instrumental in paving the way for rookie phenom Jonathan Taylor to rush for over 1,100 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.
Smith figures to be a stalwart on the right side of the Colts starting offensive line for years to come—and presumably could make his first NFL All-Pro/Pro Bowl this upcoming season (as he was well-deserving even last season).