Evaluating the OT Situation

Starters: Anthony Castonzo, Joe Reitz

Backups: Denzelle Good, Le’Raven Clark, Kevin Graf, Mitchell Van Dyk, Jeremy Vujnovich

After an impressive 2014-15 season in which he only gave up 2 sacks on a lineman-high 726 pass protection snaps, Anthony Castonzo was rewarded with a 4-year $43 million extension for protecting Andrew Luck’s blindside. Castonzo was slightly worse in the 2015-16 season because of an MCL sprain that cost him three games, which was the first time he had missed a game since his rookie season. Castonzo still graded out as an impressive 13th best tackle out of 76 according to PFF. Castonzo is a very underrated tackle who is one of the best pass protectors in the league, and is also athletic enough to run-block in space. He has been the only steady piece of the offensive line since Luck arrived in Indianapolis, and hopefully he can keep Luck upright for a full 16 games next year.

Joe Reitz has been an invaluable plug-and-play lineman for the Colts. During his time as a Colt, he’s played pretty much every offensive line position except center. Last season, he started at right tackle after the Colts parted ways with Gosder Cherilus, one of many failed big free agent signings in recent history. After Castonzo sprained his MCL, Reitz had the responsibility of protecting the blindside. Reitz did an amazing job for someone on a 3-year $8 million contract. He graded out as the 14th best tackle, one spot behind Castonzo who makes more in a year than Reitz will in three. The Colts are lucky to have this versatile lineman for such a cheap price.

Denzelle Good is a sophomore out of Mars Hill University. Despite being the second to last pick in the 2014 draft, Good played much better than anyone could have expected from him. He had to slide into the starting rotation as a right tackle once Joe Reitz moved to left tackle for the injured Anthony Castonzo. Good did well in pass protection and flashed great promise as a run-blocker. The Colts are very high on Good, and fans should be excited too, especially if he continues to make plays like this. z.gif

Le’Raven Clark is a third round pick in this year’s draft. Some scouts had a first round grade on him, and it seems like the Colts are happy they picked up this behemoth in the third round. He stands 6’6″ 313lbs with 36″ arms and 12″ hands. He is athletic for his size, but the spread offense at Texas Tech will set him back mentally for a few years because he has to learn to play in a pro offense. Clark has the body of a prototypical NFL lineman, but is nothing more than a project at this point. Kevin Graf was signed as a free agent after being on and off the Eagles team the past two seasons. He is a long-shot to make the team. Mitchell Van Dyk was signed as a free agent after bouncing around with the Rams and Steelers the past two seasons. He also figures to be a long-shot to make the team. Jeremy Vujnovich has the same story as Graf except he was on and off the Packers team the past two seasons. He probably won’t be make the final roster either.

Castonzo, Reitz, Good, and Clark are expected to make the final roster. Castonzo is a lock to start at left tackle, but the right tackle spot is a question mark. Reitz was excellent last year and is the likely starter at this point. Pagano and the rest of the Colts staff are very high on Good, and think he could start at right tackle and push Reitz to right guard. Clark needs a few years to develop at which point, he should be able to start at right tackle. He might even make a push to start at left tackle in three years once Castonzo’s contract expires.

 

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