Colts GM Chris Ballard tries to justify not drafting LT
Colts general manager Chris Ballard is explaining his decision to not draft a left tackle. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest winners of this year’s draft was Colts LT Sam Tevi. Signed to a modest one-year pact in March, Tevi has been atop Indy’s left tackle depth chart in the wake of Anthony Castonzo‘s retirement, but it was widely expected that the team would draft a potential Castonzo replacement.

Even though Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw was available for the Colts with the No. 21 overall pick, GM Chris Ballard elected to further bolster his defense by selecting Michigan DE Kwity Paye. And while this year’s draft was said to be deep in tackle talent, Ballard did not use a Day 2 or Day 3 choice on a tackle either.

It doesn’t sound like Colts brass was particularly high on the top-shelf LT prospects. “It just didn’t match up,” Ballard said, via Stephen Holder of The Athletic. “How many true left tackles were in the draft? We’ll see. … If you’re gonna draft a guy that high, and you’re drafting him to be a left tackle, you’d like to know that he’s going to be that his whole career.”

Now for more out of Indianapolis, starting with additional notes on the team’s LT situation:

  • Even though the Colts valued Paye and second-round choice Dayo Odeyingbo over any LTs who were available at the time, owner Jim Irsay did concede that there were several tackles in the fourth and fifth rounds that they would have drafted but missed out on, via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star.
  • Irsay suggested that the team is comfortable with Tevi as the starting LT, but he left the door open for another acquisition. “We feel that Tevi can do a solid job there next to that line that he is joining,” he said. “There are other options that can come down the line," via Holder.
  • Irsay has previously indicated that the team would prefer to keep Quenton Nelson at left guard instead of moving him to LT, and perhaps one of the “options that can come down the line” that he referred to is Chiefs LT Eric Fisher, who is still on the market.
  • We recently heard that the Colts are hoping to extend LB Darius Leonard and OT Braden Smith, and you can add RB Nyheim Hines to that mix. As Mike Chappell of Fox 59 writes, Irsay said he wants his team to explore a re-up with the NC State product, who is eligible for free agency next year. Hines is a terrific receiver out of the backfield and has developed into a quality punt returner, but the team does have second-year pro Jonathan Taylor as its RB1, and Marlon Mack is back in the fold as well. As Irsay observed, “it just depends on what the numbers are.”
  • The Colts just drafted Texas signal-caller Sam Ehlinger, adding him to a quarterback room that also includes 2020 UDFA Jalen Morton and 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason. All three players will be vying to serve as Carson Wentz‘s top backup, but head coach Frank Reich said Eason will be penciled in as the QB2 for now, via Erickson. Reich was clear that Morton and Ehlinger will get a fair shake, however.

This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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