Position Battles: Right Guard
This is the second of my four part series on the Colts position battles.
The Colts, when healthy, have one of the premier offensive lines in the NFL. This season, they are suffering a tough loss with Jake Scott, the right guard, leaving to Tennessee to join his former teammates (I think there are around 20 former Colts on the Titans now). The Colts have two players who have a serious shot at getting this job: Third year player Charlie Johnson and rookie Mike Pollak. Most of you may already know who I like, but if you don’t know or disagree with me, here is my opinion on this race.
Mike Pollak was taken by the Colts in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Still left on the board were Jamaal Charles, Kevin Smith, Earl Bennett, and Early Doucet, all of whom seemed to cover a bigger need for the Colts. At first, Mike Pollak seemed like an odd pick. A center from an offensive line that was pathetic in 2007? However, the more I looked at scouting reports, the more I liked Pollak and this pick. Looking at rare but valuable offensive linemen stats, I saw that he could be a force at right guard. He had an 82% blocking consistency and had 15 touchdown-leading blocks. If the Colts are to have a strong running game in the second half of the season unlike last season, they will need consistent blocking so Addai won’t be getting first contact in the backfield. He was only penalized four times, so stupid errors, a pet peeve of Peyton Manning, will be rare coming from Pollak. Pollak has good size for a guard at 6-4, 301, six pounds heavier than Scott, and he also had 29 reps in the bench press. Looking at his NFL Draft Countdown scouting report, I see the same thing every great Colts lineman gets. He’s mobile, a good leader, and he’s dependable. However, he also is unathletic and won’t dominate the opponent. The Colts offensive line scheme is built for smaller linemen who are mobile and don’t give up sacks on a regular basis. Pollak may never be Larry Allen, but you won’t see him giving up many sacks. Pollak fits the Colts scheme perfectly, and he was a great pick at 59.
Photo from Colts.com
Charlie Johnson, on the other hand, is not my type of lineman. To be fair, his Super Bowl performance in place of Ryan Diem was nothing short of phenomenal. Last season was a completely different story. When Charlie Johnson was filling in for Tony Ugoh and Ryan Diem last season, he looked completely lost. Johnson is inexperienced at offensive line. He only played it for one year in college. He needed to be helped by Ryan Lilja and Jake Scott on multiple occasions. I do not like the prospect of him being a starter for the Colts. Teams know that he is not very mobile and a bad pass blocker, and he would be targeted all game long. The Colts need a guard who will not be dominated by stronger defensive lineman and look foolish when trying to pass block.
Photo by Donald Miralle, Getty Images
As you probably can tell, I give the job to Mike Pollak. Last year, Johnson lost out on the left tackle job to Tony Ugoh, a second round pick. It will be deja vu all over again for Johnson. Pollak is a more consistent blocker and a better pass blocker. In my opinion, this is a no brainer. Mike Pollak should be the starting right guard for the 2008 season.