The slow calendar days for the NFL are drawing to a close.
Later this month, NFL teams will reconvene as each organization begins training camp. Players and coaches will return from their summer break fresh and ready to start the long NFL season. The Indianapolis Colts are one of those teams and will begin camp on July 27thth at the Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, Ind.
The Colts are a team that will see a lot of new faces taking on key roles for the 2022 season. Some position battles have already been determined, while others will be up for grabs during training camp. The Colts hope this competition leads to improved play across the field.
As was the case a season ago, it’s time to preview the Colts’ depth chart as we head into the 2022 season. We’ll go position by position and discuss how the players stack up heading into the fall. The next group to watch is the offensive tackles, where the race to block quarterback Matt Ryan’s blind side will certainly be one to watch.
Note: All marks for offensive shots are for Focus Pro Football.
2021 stats: 11 games, 11 starts (all at RT), 80.6 overall grade, 70.8 pass blocking, 86.0 run blocking, 4 sacks allowed
After signing a four-year, $70 million extension last summer, the 2021 season didn’t get off to a good start for Smith. The big right tackle suffered a foot injury in Week 1 that kept him out for the following six games. The Colts struggled to replace Smith, showing his impact along the right side of the line.
When Smith returned from injury, he showed why the Colts gave him such a massive extension. It didn’t take long for Smith to regain his form, becoming a dominant force in the run game. His 86.0 run blocking grade ranked seventh among tackles in 2021 and his 80.6 overall grade ranked 13thth.
Smith enters the season as the undisputed starter at right tackle. He has improved his game every year and hopes to do the same as he enters his fifth NFL season. When healthy, Smith is one of the best right tackles in the league, carving holes in the run game for Jonathan Taylor or avoiding pass rushers to keep his quarterback upright. The Colts are counting on that to continue for years to come.
2021 stats: 17 games, 5 starts (3 RT, 1 RG, 1 LT), 76.5 overall grade, 75.2 pass blocking, 74.8 run blocking, 0 sacks allowed
The Colts traded Pryor to the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2021 preseason, hoping he can provide consistent depth along the offensive line. Pryor turned out to be much more valuable than that.
After getting up to speed on offense, Pryor became the primary defender on offensive tackles. He started three games in place of Smith and one for Eric Fisher at left tackle, even replacing Fisher during Week 18 when the tackle was struggling. Pryor filled in admirably when called upon and impressed the coaches with his play.
Now that Fisher is no longer with the team, Pryor will be given the opportunity to lock down the starting left tackle spot for the Colts. He signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract to return to the Colts this spring and has earned the right to compete for the starting job. His 75.2 block grade was the highest of any Colts offensive lineman, as the 6’7″ tackle didn’t allow a sack all season.
While Pryor being the full-time starter at left tackle will have to be earned, the Colts feel confident that Pryor gives them a solid option on the left side of the line.
2021 Stats (College): 12 games, 12 starts (all at LT), 94.6 overall grade, 88.7 pass blocking, 94.6 run blocking, 1 sack allowed
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The man who will provide Pryor with the most competition for the starting left tackle job is Raimann. The Colts selected Raimann in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Central Michigan. The starting left tackle comes to the Colts still raw, but full of potential.
Raimann was born in Austria and did not play football until he was 13. After coming to the United States to play football, Raimann was recruited to Central Michigan as a tight end. While he was converted to offensive tackle his junior year, it didn’t take long for him to become a force at left tackle.
Raimann started his final 18 games at left tackle for the Chippewas, earning First-Team All-MAC honors. At 6’6” and 303 pounds, Raimann is very athletic for an offensive tackle and has the speed and footwork to keep the runner at bay. While he may need some work on the run blocking side, he is a quick learner and is praised by the coaches for his incredible work ethic.
Raimann may not be ready to start at left tackle in Week 1, but the rookie will continue to push for playing time and could be the long-term solution the Colts have been looking for.
2021 stats: 10 games, 4 starts (all in RT), 70.4 overall grade, 75.2 pass blocking, 64.0 run blocking, 1 sack allowed
Aside from Pryor, the Colts struggled with depth at offensive tackle. With Smith and Fisher in and out of the lineup, it became a problem to find suitable replacements when Pryor was already filling in. The Colts hope that doesn’t happen this year.
One of the players the Colts hope can bring solid depth is Kelly. The veteran is entering his tenth NFL season and can play both tackle positions. Kelly also has plenty of starting experience with 51 career starts.
Kelly started all 16 games for the Tennessee Titans in 2020 and spent 2021 as a backup tackle for the Green Bay Packers. Kelly signed a one-year deal with the Colts this offseason and will be a solid move option in Indy.
The best of the rest
Entering training camp, the Colts have nine tackles on the roster. While the aforementioned four appear to be locks to make the roster, several others are intriguing options that could find spots on the active roster or practice squad.
Jason Spriggs is a former second-round pick out of Indiana who can play both outside tackle and inside guard. Jordan Murray is a 6’9″, 325-pound big man who played in the CFL in 2021. Brandon Kemp, a former college teammate of Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II, signed with the Colts after the 2021 on the Titans practice squad. Carter O’Donnell was with the Colts last season and did not see action in Week 16 against the Arizona Cardinals. Ryan Van Demark signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent this spring with a guaranteed base salary of $175,000, one of the highest guarantees for a UDFA.
Of those five offensive tackles, Spriggs and Van Demark have the best chances to make the roster. Spriggs is a veteran with positional versatility, something the Colts covet with their offensive line. Van Demark is an athletic prospect who the Colts prioritized after the draft, offering him big guaranteed money. There will be plenty of competition at offensive tackle throughout the preseason.
Other Colts depth chart projections
Thoughts on the Colts’ OT depth chart heading into the 2022 season? Tell us in the comments section below!
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