Starters: Jack Mewhort, Hugh Thornton
Backups: Jonotthan Harrison, Joe Haeg, Kitt O’Brien, Adam Redmond
For years, the interior of the Colts offensive line was about as bad as it gets. With the 59th pick in the 2014 draft, the Colts found someone that would hold down the fort at left guard for years to come. Jack Mewhort played well as a rookie, so last offseason, the Colts moved him out to right tackle to keep the outsides clean for Luck. Sadly, for the Colts, Mewhort is a much better guard than tackle, so they had to move him back inside. But in his sophomore season, he graded out as one of PFF’s best guards, especially as a run-blocker. Mewhort looks to have his job at left guard locked down for the time being.
At right guard, the Colts have had a revolving door for years now. Last season, the team signed Todd Herremans, an established run-blocking specialist veteran, to man the right guard position. His run-blocking declined significantly from recent years, and his pass-blocking was even worse. He was benched and cut before the season ended. The right guard position was filled in by some combination of Joe Reitz, Hugh Thornton, and Lance Louis during the season. The most promising player was Hugh Thornton because he had good moments, but inconsistency and injury keep him from being a full-time starter. After shedding 20 pounds this offseason, Thornton is in the best shape of his life, and looks to compete for the starting gig.
Jonotthan Harrison competed for the starting center spot last season, but after drafting two centers, Harrison’s best chance of making this team is either as a starting or backup guard. He has gotten first-team right guard reps during the offseason because of injuries to Hugh Thornton and Denzelle Good (forcing Reitz to play right tackle instead of guard). Joe Haeg is a fifth round pick in this year’s draft. He was an athletic tackle at North Dakota State University who became a great pass-blocker after protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside in college. The Colts have used him exclusively at guard where his deficiencies as a run-blocker will definitely stand out. Haeg needs to add more strength to improve as a run and pass-blocker even though he was able to get away with it because he played in the FCS. Kitt O’Brien was an Arena Football League player before joining the Colts this offseason. O’Brien seems like nothing more than a camp body at this point and might compete for a backup spot. Adam Redmond is an UDFA from Harvard University. Redmond helped Harvard achieve a 9-1 record, however, that level of competition will definitely be a problem when trying to make the transition to the NFL.
At this point, the left guard spot is pretty much set in stone with the right guard spot up for grabs. Hugh Thornton appears to be the front-runner, if Joe Reitz starts at right tackle. However, Thornton’s inconsistency will hurt his chances at securing that spot before the preseason ends. Mewhort is a lock to make the final roster and it looks like Haeg and Thornton will probably find themselves on there too. The Colts love versatility from their offensive linemen, so whoever proves that he can play both inside and outside will probably end up taking the fourth spot if the Colts choose to carry that many guards.