Height: 6’ 4”
With the 37th overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts have selected Braden Smith out of Auburn.
Whelp, Chris Ballard has doubled down on his dedication to fixing the offensive line.
(A dedication which isn’t unfamiliar with the Colts, who have spent numerous draft picks on the offensive line over the years. They just haven’t worked out. That’s not a rant for here. The “the Colts have spent a ton of draft capitol on the offensive line” point can be seen very clearly on Twitter.)
Smith has good strength and balance that has helped him handle nose tackles and other interior defensive lineman. He has starting experience at both guard and center and shows a solid ability in both run and pass blocking.
He has occasional footwork and fundamental issues that will need to be worked out in the NFL, but it doesn’t seem like anything that can’t be coached out. There’s a bit of a concern about his length, but that is something his physicality seems to make up for.
Anyway, the Colts really didn’t need to take a guard here. In fact they probably needed anything but a guard here. But there’s a chance, seeing so far that Ballard’s second round board doesn’t quite match up to anyone’s, that Smith was the best player available for the Colts.
This guard, who can also play center, was Walter Football’s second ranked guard. Behind only one person. Quenton Nelson, obviously. So walking away with two top guards should solidify the Colts line forever now that they’re paired with Ryan Kelly. That interior line should last until Andrew Luck retires at 50.
(Quick side note: Does this mean Mewhort is going to get a shot at starting right tackle? Or is Mewhort losing his starting spot? Training camp should be interesting.)
And if it doesn’t, fans can forever question why Ballard would spend two of his first three picks—all three in the top 37 picks of the draft—why Ballard would spend them on offensive guards when defensive playmakers were on the board begging to be taken.
I brought it up with Nelson, so I’ll echo it hear. I really hope this move means Luck is ready to go and the Colts are all in on unleashing the offense (that currently lacks a number two WR) and letting Luck try to score 80 every game.
Colts draft picks:
Round 1, Pick 6 – G Quenton Nelson
Round 2, Pick 36 – LB Darius Leonard
Round 2, Pick 37 – G Braden Smith
Round 2, Pick 49
Round 3, Pick 67
Round 4, Pick 104
Round 5, Pick 140
Round 6, Pick 178
Round 7, Pick 221